If you are experiencing domestic abuse, the best thing you can do is try to tell someone you trust, recognising that you are being abused is not easy.  Look at our Recognising abuse page if you are unsure, recognising abuse is an important step towards change and you may need time to think about your situation.

 

Domestic violence is a crime

 

No-one has the right to be violent or abusive to another person. You deserve to be treated with respect and equality.

 

You are not alone

 

1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime in the UK.  Change is possible and help is available.  You can contact Lighthouse and we will help and support you to make changes every step of the way:

  • Call our 24hr helpline on 01473 745 111
    (Lines are open 9am – 5pm. Outside of these times, please leave a message and we will call you back within 15 mins.)
  • Drop in for confidential face-to-face support at our Community Centre or please call 01473 228 270 to make an appointment.
    Link to map & directions

 

Please remember:

If you’re in immediate danger, call the police on 999

 

 

Lighthouse can help you to:

  • Make a plan to leave
  • Go somewhere safe
  • Stay safe in your own home
  • Access refuge accommodation
  • Get legal advice and representation
  • Go through the justice system
  • Get money or debt advice
  • Get benefits advice
  • Protect your children
  • Help your children to understand what has happened
  • Resettle after refuge
  • Access support groups
  • Rebuild your self confidence

 

 

Confidential support

 

Go somewhere You can speak to Lighthouse confidentially and non-judgmentally. You do not have to decide anything straight away and you can take the time you need to make all decisions as and when you feel ready.


How to make a safety plan, to protect yourself and your children:

 

There are times when it may be necessary for women, children and young people to leave home quickly to escape further abuse. It can be helpful if you can plan for this and have a bag containing the essentials that you will need.

 

  • If you feel at risk or in danger, call 999 immediately.
  • Set aside some money in a safe place, in case you need it in an emergency.
  • Keep copies of important papers (passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate).
  • Keep evidence of your income e.g benefit details, utility bills, payslips
    Identify someone you trust who you could tell about the abuse.
  • Write down the names and numbers of safe places to call for help and support (this could be a friend, a family member, Lighthouse, the police).
    Identify a safe place you could go if you had to leave the house quickly.
  • Think about whether you could keep a bag of spare clothes somewhere safe (eg. at a friend’s house).
  • Make calls from a phone box or a friend’s house.
  • Know your rights – talk to a solicitor or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
  • Think about possible escape routes, plan when it will be safe to leave.
  • If you have children consider when it would be safe to discuss the move with them.
  • Have extra keys for your home and car

Keeping you and your children safe:

 

You and your children’s safety should always be priorirty, we have put together some suggestions for you that may improve your safety but please remember that you have the best understanding of your abusers behaviour, so only do what you think will help.

 

Always call 999 if you or your children are in immediate danger


If you are still in an abusive relationship:

 

  • Think of ways to keep safe if the police do not respond straight away.
  • Teach your children what to do in an emergency.
  • Plan an escape route from every room in your home.
  • Think of a safe area in your home to go if an argument happens. Stay away from rooms with no exits, hard surfaces, or where there are objects which can be used as weapons e.g. the kitchen.
  • Make a list of safe people to contact. If possible memorise all important phone numbers.
  • Speak to a trusted neighbour about your situation who could call the police if they hear a disturbance.
  • If you have a mobile phone, always keep it charged and on you at all times.
  • Develop a ‘code word’ or ‘sign’ so that family and friends know when to call for help.
  • Keep money/ change with you at all times, and know where the nearest working phone box is.
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if they become violent. Use your judgement of the abuser to protect you and your children. You are in no way colluding with the abuser if you give them what they want in order to protect you and your children.
  • Know where to go and what to do in an emergency and have an alternative.

 


The following will also be useful to keep records of for the future:

 

  • Keep a record of the violent and controlling behaviour to support any future action you may take; civil or criminal.
  • Log incidents with the police, even if you do not want to press charges at present.
  • Seek legal advice – Lighthouse offers free and confidential legal consultations with a solicitor.
  • Have any bruises or injuries recorded by a doctor for future use in any legal proceedings or re-housing procedures. You can also take a picture using a camera or your mobile phone.

If you are planning to leave:

 

You may not feel able to leave immediately, but you can plan and prepare for an emergency if and when it does arise and you need to leave your home. Leaving is often the most dangerous time, so planning this can increase your safety.

You can:

  • Have a packed bag ready and keep it in a secret but accessible place, so you can leave quickly.
  • Keep important documents (e.g. marriage/ birth certificates, national insurance card, passport, driving licence, legal documents), money, medication, and items of sentimental value in a safe place so that they can be grabbed in a hurry.
  • Only tell people you trust where you will be. Lie if you have to, as this may protect you and them.
  • Always try to take your children with you or make arrangements to leave them with someone safe.
  • If the last number you called was a refuge, taxi or the place you are going to stay, dial another number, for example, the Speaking Clock (dial 123).

Once the relationship has ended:

 

Unfortunately, domestic violence and abuse may not end even when the relationship has ended. In order to increase your safety you can:

  • Inform trusted friends or relatives that you are no longer in the relationship and they should call the police if they see your former partner near or trying to gain access to your home.
  • Change locks on your doors and make sure that all windows and doors are as secure as possible.
  • Have additional security installed e.g. sensor security lighting/ burglar alarms.
  • Change the routes you use to take your children to school.
  • Inform people who look after your children e.g. teachers, which people have permission to collect them. If you have an injunction, give a copy to the school.
  • Change your phone number, and ask for your calls to be screened when at work.
  • Change your routines e.g. shop in different places at different times, and take different routes home etc.

Your safety and emotional well being:

 

  • If you’re thinking of returning to a potentially violent and abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust or a domestic violence support service.
  • If you have to communicate with your (ex) partner, determine the safest way to do so. If you have to meet with them do so in a public place.
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive about your needs.
  • Get support from a domestic violence service.
  • Decide who you can speak to openly to give you the support you need.
  • It can be a very turbulent time remember to take time to take care of yourself.

24 Hour Emergency Helpline:

Helpline: 01473 745 111

 

Our helpline provides advice and support to women
experiencing domestic abuse.

 

More Helplines