Domestic abuse can be defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.
Domestic violence can manifest itself in the following forms:
Ask yourself the following
If you have found yourself answering ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then you may be experiencing domestic abuse. The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. This is not, and will never be, your fault as you have a right to feel safe and live free of abuse. We will believe you and we will support you.
If you don’t feel safe, respected and cared for, then something isn’t right. Abuse can be both physical and emotional, and both types can be equally damaging. It is not safe to ignore signs of abuse because they are yet to present themselves physically.
If you think that you might be in an abusive relationship then there are ways to get out safely and with the support of others. If you feel comfortable, you can speak to one of our Advice Centre advisors who are available during weekdays from 10.00-16.30 Monday to Thursday, and 10:00-15:00 on Friday. You can contact us on 01484 473446 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment to speak with an advisor.
Check out our comprehensive list of local and national charities to find out where the closest domestic violence support centre is to you. You can also access our growing online resource bank to find advice escaping abusive relationships, as well as advise for moving forward from them.
A bystander is someone who is present when an event takes place but isn’t directly involved. With 26% of women reporting having experienced some kind of domestic abuse as adults and 15% of men reporting the same - preventing bystander culture and giving support to loved ones experiencing abuse is essential.
It is important to remember that the only person responsible for committing domestic abuse is the perpetrator - but all of us have some ability to look out for each other’s safety. It can be as simple as offering a cup of tea. Everyone has a part to play in preventing domestic abuse.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to step into situations, even if you know you are doing the right thing. The following are common reasons given by bystanders as to why they’ve remained on the sidelines:
It’s very normal to have thoughts like this, but it is still important to recognise your role in preventing domestic abuse and to know that your actions can have a massive impact on a situation if you are in the place to help. Many situations can be prevented from happening in the first place by bystanders.
The most important aspect of keeping others safe is learning how to intervene appropriately to the situations and your personal comfort level. Having a full knowledge of these boundaries will help give you the confidence to step into a situation when issues occur. Stepping in can be the difference a situation needs, but you should never put your own safety at risk when doing so.
If you know or suspect that a family member, friend or work colleague is experiencing domestic violence, it may be difficult to know what to do. It can be very upsetting that someone is hurting a person you care about. Your first instinct may be to want to protect your friend or family member but intervening can be dangerous for both you and them. Of course, this does not mean you should ignore it. There are things you can do to help make them and any children safer. If you should witness an assault, you can call the police on 999. If you feel comfortable, you can try the following:
If you would like to learn more about supporting a friend who you suspect or know is experiencing domestic abuse, please continue to refer to downloadable online guides (part of a series about preventing and surviving sexual and domestic abuse) to find access any further resources that we will make available for educating yourself about what you can do.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can come and visit the Advice Centre (5th Floor of Student Central) to speak to us about your experiences. We can give you advice as to which pathways to reporting your abuse you can take, as well as support that doesn’t involve reporting, such as guiding you towards available support groups or counselling sessions. To see a comprehensive explanation for the services available to you as a student, as well as official reporting methods, please view our Reporting & Policy Guide. You can also see which charities that you might find beneficial on our Charities page. In addition to this, we have an ever-growing collection of self-help guides which are available at our Self Help Guide page.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.