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Violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence

If violence or abuse has happened it is important to remember that the safety of child and/or an abused parent is the first priority.

Violence and abuse can take many forms and you may not always realise that what you are experiencing is abuse. Below are some common forms of violence and abuse that people experience:

  • Physical or sexual violence, stalking and harassment
  • Financial abuse such as taking someone’s money, preventing someone from getting or keeping a job or running up debts in the victim’s name
  • Threats of violence and emotional or psychological abuse.

Domestic abuse may also include a range of behaviours that, when viewed as isolated incidents, do not seem much. If they involve a pattern of behaviour that results in you feeling fear, alarm or distress, it is abuse. This may include the abuser sending repeated texts, emails, letters, cards or ‘presents’, harassing friends, family and neighbours, vandalising property.

Whilst everyone’s experience is unique, examples of abusive behaviour can include:

  • Keeping you from spending time with friends or family members
  • Being excessively jealous and possessive
  • Getting angry for no apparent reason
  • Seeming like two different people – charming or loving one minute, mean and hurtful the next
  • Constant criticism, humiliation or belittling
  • Forcing or coercing you to have sex or hurting you during sex
  • Making you feel like you’re ‘walking on egg shells’ or living with constant stress, anxiety or fear.

If you, a family member or a friend are being abused, threatened, physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this is domestic abuse. Admitting that you are experiencing domestic abuse may seem very difficult but it is an important step towards getting protection for yourself and your children.

If you need to speak to someone about any risk or abuse you or your child are experiencing, we would encourage you to call the Live Fear Free Helpline number, or contact one of the other organisations listed who may be able to help. You could also talk to your GP, social worker, Cafcass Cymru practitioner if you have one, key worker, or health visitor.

If abuse has taken place, limited contact between parents, as well as, children, may be in the child’s best interests. Legal support can also play an important role in keeping everyone safe. If children talk about harming themselves or not wanting to live, or if the school reports problems that go on for months, or you feel unable to cope with your child’s behaviour, you should find help.

You could:

  • See your GP or health visitor
  • Talk to your child’s Teacher, Head of Year or Head Teacher
  • See a Counsellor
  • Talk to your Cafcass Cymru Officer, if he or she is currently involved
  • Talk to your Social Worker if you have one.

If you find yourself in an abusive situation, find help immediately for you and your child.