If you are concerned about the safety or well-being of a child call the Police on 999 or contact the NSPCC Helpline – 0808 800 5000.
If you have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, or are worried about a friend or relative who is experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can call the Live Fear Free Helpline for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Helpline staff will help you talk about your feelings, explore options, access local services, and to identify ways in which you can increase the safety of you and your children irrespective of what choices you may be making about your relationship. Information can also be provided on local services that can help to support and protect you as well as give you information on your rights and options. This may include services that can help you with housing, welfare benefits, legal issues, counselling and how to access a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
All calls are confidential. If it is necessary to share information with other agencies, this would only be done with your full consent. The exceptions to this are if your life was in immediate danger or if there was a child at risk. In these circumstances, the authorities would be informed to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your children.
Freephone 0808 80 10 800 in confidence, open 24 hours.
Local domestic abuse and violence against women services in Wales can support you (and your children if you have any) with a range of support to meet your needs. They provide individual advocacy and support, counselling, support groups as well as access to refuge and other safe accommodation options. Many services run drop in sessions which you can attend to talk about your situation and get some initial support and guidance.
For details of the service nearest you click here: Specialist Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women Services in Wales
Refuge services – provide safe housing and holistic needs-led, strengths-based support for women and children as a result of domestic abuse. Refuge services provide local hubs of excellence in delivering lifesaving and preventative work in response to domestic abuse, an access to refuge services is available 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Some refuges offer self-contained accommodation whereas others offer an element of communal living (eg shared kitchen and living areas) that can offer an opportunity for peer support. In some areas ‘move-on’ accommodation is also possible providing safe dispersed accommodation in the community to enable women and children to be supported to re-establish themselves in a new community.
Some refuges also provide safe, separate provision for men wo have experienced domestic abuse.
Outreach & floating support services – Specialist outreach support services provide support and advocacy with a range of issues including housing, legal issues, immigration, support through the justice system, support for children and young people, education, parenting, finance and debt, health and wellbeing, accessing education, employment learning and skills. Some services offer independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) for those at high risk of harm, and access to counselling support.
Group programmes – Services run a variety of group programmes aimed at supporting women after experiencing domestic abuse to reduce their isolation, increase confidence and help recover from their experiences of violence and abuse.
Children and young people’s services – Many services also provide support for children and young people who have been affected by domestic abuse. This includes STAR programmes which encourage development of Safety, Trust And Respect in relationships, in a safe and friendly environment. A range of age-appropriate programmes are available for supporting children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse and for mothers and children to help rebuild their relationships. Prevention programmes are also available for all children and young people to promote healthy relationships and information about the help available.
Specialist support for Black and minority communities – some specialist services focus on the needs and aspirations of black and minority ethnic women and girls, to address not only the gendered nature of violence against women and girls, but also the way intersecting factors such as age, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability can affect girls and women’s journeys and experiences. As such these services actively promote the leadership, autonomy and self-determination of black and minority ethnic women and girls.
Sexual violence and rape crisis services – organisations that are women-led and offer a range of support, advocacy, counselling and information in a women-only safe space. Some also provide separate space and services for male sexual violence survivors and/or for men who are supporting a survivor.
Help for domestic abuse perpetrators – Some services in Wales deliver accredited perpetrator programmes to challenge, manage risk, and change behaviour of abusers. If you’re concerned about your own behaviour contact the UK Respect Phoneline.
A safety plan also helps you to think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship, or if you decide to leave.
You cannot control your abuser or the abuse; only they can do that. But you can change how you respond to and think about the abuse and take steps to increase your safety. You may already have tried various strategies and have some that work some of the time.
Some questions to help you get started:
If you are planning to leave:
If you have time to plan, try to take as many of the items listed below as are relevant to you. Your safety must come first so only take the items below if you have time to do so. This is just a suggested plan of action which you can add to or change to suit you.
If you are planning ahead of the day you plan to leave, make sure you conceal these items somewhere safe where your abuser will not find them. In the case of documents, the actual documents will be more useful but if in doubt, take photographs of them and send them as attachments to a safe email address that you can access from anywhere (don’t forget to delete the photos).
If you have more time to plan your leaving, do as many as possible of the following:
If you do leave and later discover you have forgotten something, you can always arrange for the protection of a police escort to return home to collect it.
Safety after you leave the relationship
If you have left your home, but are staying in the same area or at the same job or your children are staying at the same school, these are some suggestions of ways in which you might be able to increase your safety:
To get legal information and help with regards to criminal proceedings, family matters, debt, benefits, housing and many other areas of concern:
Call the Wales Live Fear Free Helpline for men and women affected by sexual violence and domestic abuse
Visit the Rights of Women legal information pages which aim to provide affordable and accessible information on legal issues for women in order to improve knowledge about the legal rights and remedies available: http://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-information/violence-against-women-and-international-law/