Domestic abuse is – ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’ It can include harassment, stalking, forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation.
Listen to our EXCLUSIVE interview with domestic abuse victim Renie Sinclair at the bottom of this page:
The definition applies to any person aged 16 years and over, and family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step family.
Domestic abuse occurs across all of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth or geography.
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event and controlling and abusive behaviour may be on-going. This chain of events needs to be broken. There are many services available to help break the chain. Details of some organisations that are working to achieve this are listed below.
Who can use these services
Somerset’s domestic abuse services are open to anyone who needs specialist support. It’s important to remember that couples counselling is not recommended and could be dangerous. Instead it’s always best to speak to a specialist service, such as Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) or Victim Support.
What you can do if you think it is happening to a friend
For people suffering domestic abuse, the support of a trusted friend can be invaluable. It is important that the person knows you believe them and that they are not alone. Try not to judge or blame either party. Encourage your friend to contact one of the agencies who can help. If you witness an assault, phone the police. Do not intervene physically.
The police take domestic abuse very seriously and they have powers to act.
As well as the police, there are specialist organisations which offer support and practical advice. Their services are confidential, and in many cases, completely free. Useful numbers are available in the ‘Links to other services’ section of the Somerset Survivors website.
Listen to our EXCLUSIVE interview with domestic abuse victim Renie Sinclair below:
In an emergency always dial 999