Domestic abuse – the facts

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is when one person hurts, bullies or takes away the choices of someone they have a close relationship with, if they live with them, have lived with them, are married or not.

In all relationships there can be difficult times, people argue, disagree, and say or do things that can be hurtful. What’s different about domestic abuse? It causes one person to be scared of the other and can happen more than once.

In domestic abuse, someone can hurt another person in many ways – physically by hitting, punching or kicking, or emotionally, by threatening, making them feel bad, stopping them seeing friends and family. Keeping someone short of money or controlling the money, is also abusive.

Why does it happen?

People choose to be abusive, and make many excuses for their behaviour, ie. stress, being drunk, or it may just be the abuser doesn’t respect the victim.

But no-one and nothing else other than the abuser is to blame. The person who is being abused should never take responsibility for another’s abusive behaviour and bullying behaviour.

How does it affect children and young people?

Some adults think that domestic abuse can be hidden from children and young people. But they often hear and see what’s happening, are often nearby when it happens, or are in the next room. Some children are also hurt by the abuser, and feel that it is their fault – it is not.

If this is happening to you, you may feel guilty, angry, depressed, scared and upset. Whatever you feel is OK – there are no right or wrong feelings.

Some things you can do to keep yourself safe

If you are living with domestic abuse you probably just want it to stop. You may want to stop the fighting or the person being hurt.

Firstly, do not try and stop it happening, this is dangerous and you may get hurt.

Instead, you could call the police by dialling 999. If it doesn’t feel safe to phone the police from home, call from a friend’s house, or neighbour’s.

You could find a safe place in the house where you could go when there’s a fight or an argument; you should keep doing this once you’ve found this safe place.

It can help to talk to someone, a friend or adult you trust.

If there is a fight or an argument, you could phone them and let them know what’s going on – some people agree a codeword so that in an emergency all you have to say is the codeword over the phone and the other person will know that it means you need help. Make sure you agree this with them first and that they have your address and phone number.

So, where can people who are suffering or living with domestic abuse at home get help?

z Domestic Abuse Helpline, free and confidential. Tel: 0800 027 1234 (24 hours).

z Childline, free and confidential. Tel 0800 1111.

z LetSBsafe2, a children and young people’s domestic abuse service in the Scottish Borders. Tel: 01750 22892.

Remember, though, that anyone who is violent is committing a crime. The police are here to prevent crime and to protect people. If someone you know is suffering or living with violence at home, or if someone close to you is being violent towards you, the police are here to protect them.

If someone you know is a victim of crime you don’t even have to tell the police directly, you can tell specially-trained members of staff at the following centres.

z Duns: Contact Irene Waldie. Tel: 01361 886 138.

z Galashiels: Contact Philip Brand. Tel: 01896 662 722.

z Hawick: Contact Susan Dawson. Tel: 01450 364729.

z Peebles: Contact Fiona Blair/ Kathleen Fowler. Tel: 01721 726 321 .

z Victim Support Scottish Borders, 46 High Street, Galashiels:Contact Karen Lawson or Gill Cain. Tel: 01896 751212.

z Heriot Watt University Scottish Borders Campus, Galashiels: Contact E Drummond or G Dunne. Tel: 01896 892178.

For more information on remote reporting, visit http://fcccmsint/takecontrol/index.asp