Domestic violence support
If you've experienced domestic violence, even once, then you need help and support. On the Mumsnet Talk boards, the advice from women who've been through it is clear: don't delay. Domestic violence tends to escalate, not end, so here's what you need to know about getting help.
Women who are being abused often feel they have no options. But there ARE options. They include:
- Leaving your home temporarily (going to stay with your parents, friends, or in a refuge)
- Staying in your present home and getting your partner to move out
- Leaving your home permanently
- Taking legal action
Getting emergency help
In extreme circumstances, of course, you can call the police on 999. Whatever stage the abuse is at, you need to talk to someone about your personal circumstances and your possible courses of action.
- National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 200 0247 (24 hours) or www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk
- Refuge on 0808 200 0247 (24 hours) or www.refuge.org.uk
- Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247 (24 hours) or www.womensaid.org.uk
- National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0844 8044 999 or www.ncdv.org.uk
- Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or www.domesticabuse.co.uk
Safe places to stay
Women's aid refuges are safe houses run by and for women experiencing domestic violence. They provide a safe place for women and their children to stay to allow some space to think and decide on your next move.
Refuges are all different, but (with your children) you'll always be given your own room. Some have self-contained flats, but most have shared kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms.
• Domestic violence and the law
• Domestic abuse during pregnancy
• Domestic violence webguide
• Talk: separation and divorce
Refuge staff are very experienced in helping women to decide what to do next - they can give you advice on benefit claims and solicitors.
The National Domestic Violence Helpline (details above) will be able to tell you about refuges in your area. If you need somewhere to go in an emergency, the closest refuge to you might of course be full, but the helpline staff will find you somewhere.
Another option is to contact your local authority, who have a duty to house you if you're homeless - and you are legally deemed to be homeless if it's not reasonable for you to occupy your home because of fears over domestic violence.
Whatever you decide to do, don't compound the domestic violence by beating yourself up - it's not your fault and you don't deserve it. As Mumsnetter Reallytired says: "Violent relationships happen to women of all levels of intelligence, social class and all walks of life."
The Mumsnet Relationships Talk board is available 24/7 with suggestions, support and bolstering.