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If you are in immediate danger, dial 999.

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.

Live Fear Free Helpline

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.

live-fear-free-helpline
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.

Domestic abuse and violence against women services in Wales

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

  • Types of support

    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.

  • Keeping Safe

    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.

    • Plan in advance how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations.
    • Think about the different options that may be available to you.

    Some questions to help you get started:

    • What do you currently do to keep you and your children safe? What works best?
    • Do the children know how to contact services or friends/family?
    • Who can you tell about the violence – someone who will not tell your partner / ex-partner?
    • Do you have important phone numbers available e.g. family, friends?
    • If you left, where could you go? What if it was at night?
    • Do you ever know in advance when your partner is going to be violent? E.g. after drinking, when they get paid, after relatives visit?
    • When you suspect they are going to be violent can you go elsewhere? If not, is there anywhere in the house which is safer? (eg where you won’t get trapped, where there are fewer weapons and hard edges)
    • Is there a code word or phrase you can agree with a friend so that they know to call the police if they hear you say it or you text it to them?
    • Are there neighbours you could trust, and where you could go in an emergency? If so, tell them what is going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of an attack. Consider establishing a signal that means they should call the police?
    • Can you keep an old mobile charged and hidden to use in an emergency if your current phone gets broken?
    • What is the most dangerous part of your house to be in when he is violent?
    • Can you keep a bag of spare clothes at a friend’s or family member’s house?
    • Are you able to keep copies of important papers with anyone else? e.g. passport, birth certificates, benefit book?
    • Is there somewhere for your children to go when your partner is being violent?
    • Can you begin to save any money independently of your partner?
    • Could you teach your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they would need to say (eg their full name, address and telephone number).
    • Can you rehearse an escape plan, so in an emergency you and the children can get away safely?
    • Is it safe for you to pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children, and hide it somewhere safe (eg at a neighbour’s or friend’s house)?

    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).

    • Locate somewhere you can quickly and easily use a phone (neighbour? relative? other contacts?) in case you forget your mobile or it is broken
    • Make and always carry with you a list of numbers for use in an emergency, include friends, relatives, local police, Women’s Aid (even well known numbers can be forgotten in a panic).
    • Try to keep aside some money for bus, train, cab fares.
    • Have an extra set of keys for house, car etc.
    • Keep the keys, money and a set of clothes for you and the children packed ready in a bag that you can quickly get and take.
    • Explain to your children who are old enough to understand that you might have to leave in a hurry and will take them with you or will arrange for them to join you. Discuss the escape drill.

    If you have more time to plan your leaving, do as many as possible of the following:

    • Take all of your children with you; it will be much harder to get them back later if you leave without them. If they are at school, make sure that the head and all your children’s teachers know what the situation is, and who will be collecting the children in future.
    • Take your legal and financial papers such as marriage and birth certificates, Court orders, national health cards, passports, driving licence, benefit books, address book, bank books, cheque books, credit cards, rent book or mortgage papers, birth certificates etc.
    • Keys to the house, car and place of work
    • Address book
    • Take any of your personal possessions which have sentimental value – photographs or jewellery for example
    • Take favourite toys for the children
    • Take clothing and toiletries for you and the children for at least several days
    • Take any medicine you or your children might need
    • Any documentation relating to the abuse such as police reports or injunctions

    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:

    • Try to alter your routines and avoid places that you used when you were together.
    • If you have any regular appointments that your partner knows about (for example, an exercise class) try to choose a safe route to arrive and leave or consider changing to a new location.
    • Tell your children’s school, nursery or childminder what has happened, and let them know who will pick them up. Make sure they do not allow anyone else to collect them or give your new address or telephone number to anyone. (You may want to establish a password, or give copies of any court orders, if you have them.)
    • Consider telling your employer or colleagues at your place of work. They will be better prepared to help you in an emergency and may be able to put some additional security measures in place.
    • If you have an injunction, make sure that your local police station has a copy, and that the police know that they need to respond quickly in an emergency.
    • If you have moved away from your area, and don’t want your abuser to know where you are, take particular care with anything that may indicate your whereabouts.

    Remember:

    • If your abuser has had access to your mobile phone, they could have installed a tracking device. If you are in any doubt, change your phone. Remember too that digital photographs often contain location data so take care (for example) if sending the abuser photographs of the children. If you need to phone your abuser (or anyone connected with them), make sure your telephone number is untraceable by dialling 141 before ringing.
    • Change passwords for your email, online banking, social media and any website your abuser may know about. Exercise caution when posting on social media so you don’t give away your location.
    • Try to avoid using shared credit or debit cards or joint bank accounts. You should also change the PIN for your debit card if you think your abuser may know it.
    • Talk to the police or your solicitor if you are going through any court action to make sure that your address does not appear on any court papers.
    • Talk to your children about keeping your address and location confidential.
    • Victims of stalking and domestic abuse can join the electoral register anonymously, to ensure they are not put at risk, and do not lose the right to vote. Anyone wanting to register their details anonymously must provide evidence such as an order under the Family Law Act 1996 or the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. If an application is granted, the details that appear on the register only have a person’s electoral number and the letter N.
    • If your ex-partner continues to harass, threaten or abuse you, make sure you keep detailed records of each incident, including the date and time it occurred, what was said or done, and, if possible, photographs of damage to your property or injuries to yourself or others. If your partner or ex-partner injures you, see your GP or go to hospital for treatment and ask them to document your visit. If you have an injunction with a power of arrest, or there is a restraining order in place, you should ask the police to enforce this; and if your abuser does not obey any court orders, you should also tell your solicitor.
  • Legal Protection available

    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/

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