Domestic violence and abuse
If you are in immediate danger call 999 now. If you would like to talk to someone, call the Devon domestic violence helpline on 0345 155 1074
What is domestic violence / abuse?
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.
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. It occurs across the whole of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability, religion, class, or lifestyle and income. Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’, forced marriage and female genital mutilation are also considered acts of domestic abuse.
If this is happening to you, you are not alone. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime, regardless of their class, ethnicity or sexual orientation. You may feel ashamed, scared, isolated, confused, afraid not to be believed or that the violence gets worse if you report it. You are not to blame! Do not suffer in silence, as there are people who can help.
How can I get help?
If you don’t tell anyone about the abuse then the chances are that it will continue and get worse over time. By telling someone, a friend, family member or one of the organisations listed in this directory, you will be able to start protecting yourself and your children.
There are many different agencies you can call depending on the help you need. If you in immediate danger you should always call 999 – don’t put yourself, or your family at risk. If you would like to talk to someone, call the Devon domestic violence helpline on 0345 155 1074.
Stop Abuse for Everyone (SAFE) – Domestic Violence support in Exeter, East and Mid Devon. For 24 hour confidential support and information call 01392 667144 or their free local helpline on 0800 328 3070.
North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) – Domestic Violence support in North Devon and Torridge. For confidential support and information call 01271 321946.
Apart from Devon and Cornwall Police you are not obliged to give your name or contact details to any agency. It may however prove difficult for them to support you without this information.
24 hour advice lines:
National Women’s Aid 0808 2000 247
For women experiencing domestic violence
Samaritans 08457 909090
For emotional support in a crisis
Shelterline 0808 800 4444
National Housing Advice Line
Childline 0800 1111
For children/young people in distress
NSPCC 0808 800 5000
For anyone concerned about a child
If I want to leave?
The following is a checklist of what to take if you decide to leave:
- Money. If possible, have some money saved in case you need to use a taxi or bus. Take your credit cards, cheques, saving and giro books and current and unpaid bills. If you don’t have a mobile, find somewhere you can quickly and safely use the phone should you need to.
- Take important documents such as your marriage and birth certificate, any court orders, passport, benefit and bank books, and health records. Also remember to take the child benefit book and other legal and financial papers you may have.
- Keys. Take any keys you have or if there is time have an extra set made of house, car and office keys before you leave.
- Emergency addresses and contact numbers. School, GP, friends and family phone numbers and numbers of relevant domestic violence agencies.
- Have a small bag already packed with an extra set of keys for the house and car should you need to leave in an emergency. You may prefer leaving this with a trusted friend.
- Take essential medicines that you and your children need.
- Toys. Sometimes it is difficult to carry much but your children may be confused and upset and a special toy or comforter may help them.
- If you later discover that you have left something essential behind, you can always arrange for a police escort so that you can return for it.