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Staying Safe Around Others

Domestic Abuse

Babies, children and young people who see or hear grown-ups arguing can be very upset even if they don’t show it. They can feel scared, lonely and confused. Even very tiny babies can get frightened when they hear loud or cross voices and arguments, and this can affect their health and development. During big life changes, such as pregnancy, domestic abuse may get worse.

If you are pregnant you may not think that arguing or any violence is harmful to your unborn baby, however we know that unborn babies are more likely to be born early, or have an infection if this is happening. You may also be more likely to suffer a miscarriage. 

There are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about having power and control over you.

NSPCC says domestic abuse is “any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship.”

Domestic abuse can happen in any relationship and is not only physical violence. It can include emotional, physical, sexual, psychological (how someone thinks and feels), or financial abuse.

Something called coercive controlling behaviour is also part of domestic abuse. This involves your partner controlling everything that you do, everyday. Some people do not even know they are being controlled in this way.  

Signs Of Domestic Violence and Abuse

Emotional Abuse

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship or experiencing domestic abuse.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or downplay it?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?
  • monitor your social media profiles, share photos or videos of you without your consent or use GPS locators to know where you are?

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone.

There are support services that offer free confidential help:

• Leeway 0300 561 0077
• National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 200 0247
• Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) 0344 800 8020

Threats & Intimidation

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship or experiencing domestic abuse.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone.

There are support services that offer free confidential help:

• Leeway 0300 561 0077
• National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 200 0247
• Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) 0344 800 8020

Physical Abuse

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship or experiencing domestic abuse. The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone.

There are support services that offer free confidential help:

• Leeway 0300 561 0077
• National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 200 0247
• Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) 0344 800 8020

Sexual Abuse

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship or experiencing domestic abuse. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • touch you in a way you do not want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

If anyone has sex with you when you do not want to, this is rape. It is still rape if that person is your partner.

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone.

There are support services that offer free confidential help:

• Leeway 0300 561 0077
• National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 200 0247
• Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) 0344 800 8020

Economic Abuse

Economic abuse is where an abuser takes control of your money and access to the things you need. Economic abuse often occurs alongside other forms of abuse. It is commonly part of a pattern of coercive controlling behaviour.

Read more about economic abuse

Safety Planning

If you feel at risk from a partner or ex-partner you can reduce the risk to you and your family by making a safety plan. It is a chance to take some control of how you can stay safe. 

Talk to a friend or family member you trust if you can. Tell them what is happening. This can mean more support for you emotionally and practically.

You could;

  • Leave a packed bag at their house with a change of clothes and important documents (or copies) like passports, birth certificates and banking details.
  • Have a code word or a sign (like a book or toy in the window) that lets them know you need help.
  • Tell your children they are a safe person to go to – if you do not think it puts them at more risk.

When you see the signs that your partner is likely to be abusive remove yourself and / or children from the situation if you can. Choose a room in the house where you and /or your children can be safer when you feel at risk. Your children may be at more risk if they are in the same room as you – decide what is best for your situation. It is good if your safer place has a lock – this might be the bathroom. It is best to avoid kitchens as they have a lot of possible ‘weapons’ like knives in them.

  • Take a phone with you if you can so you can get help. Can you hide a phone in your safe place if you do not have easy access to a phone?
  • Think about how you can get out of the house safely if you have to in a hurry.

Talk to your children about what is happening. Even if you do not think they are old enough to know, or you do not think they have seen or heard any abuse, they usually do know. It is important they know it is not their fault, or yours, and it is not ok.

Make sure your children know that they should not try and help if you are being attacked. Their job is to keep themselves safe. Talk to them about how to get help if they can.

You should call 999 if you or someone else is in danger. You can ring 999 even if you have no credit or reception. If you cannot speak dial 55 when they answer and services will know you need help. Try not to hang up so they are able to listen to what is happening.

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.

If a pharmacy has the ASK FOR ANI symbol on display, this means they are ready to help. Approach a member of staff and ASK FOR ANI. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you want a 999 police response or to speak to a domestic abuse support helpline.


Who can Help?

If you are in immediate danger call 999.

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it's important to tell someone and remember you're not alone.

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, talking to someone can help. There are support services that offer free confidential help:

  • NIDAS 0300 561 0555 / 07860 063464
  • Leeway 0300 561 0077
  • National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 200 0247
  • Norfolk Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS) 0344 800 8020

Men can call Men's Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 (Monday and Wednesday, 9am to 8pm, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5pm) for non-judgemental information and support.

If you are a child or young person, you can call Childline for support, no matter what problems or dangers you are facing. You can contact them at any time of day or night on 0800 1111. You can also talk to a Childline counsellor online. 

You can also contact a member of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

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