Keeping safe

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Victims are most likely to be at risk from people they know.

Violent attack, inside or outside the home, is a criminal offence. Nobody has the right to abuse you physically, sexually or emotionally. Victims may be made to feel responsible and guilty for the abuse. The decision to take action against the abuser may be a difficult one, but it is important to remember that you do not have to suffer in silence.

In the short term

Talk to a neighbour you trust – maybe arrange a signal, and ask them to contact the police if they hear a disturbance in your home. You may even feel more comfortable if an overnight bag is packed, with enough money for petrol and a phone card, and if possible, money for at least one night’s bed and breakfast or arrange to stay with a friend or relative you trust.

Take extra keys for the house or car; a change of clothes for yourself and your children and a list of emergency phone numbers. You could leave this with a friend, or at your workplace.

If you can, take any legal or financial papers which you might need, along with any treasured personal possessions, toys for the children and any medicines you may require.

In the longer term

There are organisations who are there to help and support you while you decide what choices you want to make for the longer term.

You can get legal advice from a solicitor. If you pursue the case against your attacker, there are a number of possible legal outcomes, ranging from court injunctions, and possibly to a criminal conviction and custodial sentence.

Remember that domestic abuse is a crime and can be dealt with through the police and courts. You should report any violent attack to the police, who can help you. Many police forces now have dedicated domestic abuse units, which are staffed by specially trained officers who will tell you what help is available, and will support you in whatever you wish to do.

Help from the Police

Durham Constabulary work in partnership with all of the other agencies who are involved with those who are or have been victims of domestic abuse, this cuts out any delays and allows those who need help to receive it quickly.

Durham Constabulary’s strategy towards domestic violence always puts the victim first and working in partnership with those who specialise in this field gives us a greater understanding of the needs and concerns of the victims.

For more information contact 101.

Considering leaving home

In a crisis your safety is vital. If you are thinking about leaving remember the following

  • Money, Bankbooks, Credit Cards
  • Benefit Books
  • ID - Birth Certificates
  • Keys - House/Car/Office
  • Passports/Visas
  • Driving License and Registration documents
  • Mortgage documents/Rent book
  • Insurance documents
  • Toiletries and Medication
  • Address Book
  • Bottle, milk, nappies and favourite toys for kids
  • Spare clothes
  • Items of personal value (for example: photos)

For advice and support please call the Domestic Abuse helpline on 01325 364486 (9am-5pm - answer phone at other times)