What is domestic abuse?
It can be any incident of threatening or violent behaviour or abuse. The abuse takes place in a domestic or relationship context for example between family members, between husband and wife, or between partners or ex partners.
Domestic abuse takes many forms. In many cases the victim suffers physical violence but domestic abuse can also mean
- Emotional abuse: threats to harm the victim or their family, isolating the victim from their family and friends, controlling and monitoring the victim by constant texting and phoning
- Verbal abuse: name calling and abusive language, putting the victim down and undermining their confidence
- Harassment: constant texting or phoning, stalking the victim at their home or place of work
Where does it happen?
Domestic abuse is a common occurrence and happens across our society, in every age group, culture and region. One in four women and one in six men have suffered domestic abuse since the age of 16. There is one call per minute to the police, however it is estimated that less than 40% of domestic abuse crime is actually reported. Studies show that domestic abuse escalates and the gap between incidents decreases over time.
How does it effect people?
Physical abuse and violence can result in injuries and even death. Emotional abuse causes the victim depression and anxiety. Children who witness domestic abuse between their parents are also effected. Victims often find it hard to face up to what is happening and will blame themselves or put up with the abuse in the hope that things will improve.
How can we help?
Legal protection is available to victims of domestic abuse and their children. We can help you obtain a court injunction to prevent the perpetrator from abusing you again, and to prevent them from approaching you, contacting you, or returning to your home. Many cases require urgent action and we can usually obtain an urgent court injunction within 24 hours.
Public Funding will be available to cover your legal costs if you meet the funding criteria.
We have specialist lawyers with experience and accreditation in assisting victims of domestic violence and abuse. We also work with other agencies such as the Devon SAFE project to provide you with ongoing protection and support.
How do you protect yourself from domestic abuse?
If you are in fear of your personal safety you are always advised to contact the Police for assistance. Within the family and civil courts it is possible to obtain an Injunction under the Family Law Act or the Protection from Harassment Act. An Injunction can protect you from threats of violence, actual violence, harassment and can, where necessary, be used to keep someone out of your home.
In an emergency we will endeavour to see you on the same day if at all possible. We support ADVICE (Against Domestic Violence in the City of Exeter) and are members of the local forum together with other local organisations including Womens Aid and the Police.