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Brace Yourself... Christmas is coming.

TW//Domestic abuse

Christmas is a time for family and joy.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen are on their way with the old man himself… Festivities are at an all time high! Mulled wine is flowing…. Some lucky people with a whole week off work!

Many people will be bracing themselves for what hell they are going to experience over the festive period.

Domestic abuse is going on around us EVERYDAY but historically cases of domestic abuse rise over the Christmas period. A report in December 2020 shows that the Cleveland police made 266 arrests between 24th and 29th December …. 49% of those arrests were related to domestic abuse.

In the same report the Warwickshire police reported that for the same period 38 out of their 60 arrests were domestic abuse related which amounts to a massive 52%!

I think most of us are aware of what domestic violence is, but do you know what is included under domestic abuse?

- Coercive control

- Psychological and/or emotional abuse

- Physical abuse (domestic violence)

- Sexual abuse

- Financial abuse

- Harassment and Stalking

- Threats and Intimidation

- Online abuse

It can be very hard to spot the signs of domestic abuse.

Some people can struggle to recognise the signs even when it is them in the situation! Here are some signs to look out for in a relationship:

- Being blamed for arguments

- Being isolated from friends and family

- Making unreasonable demands

- Accusations of infidelity

- Monitoring of your social media platforms

- Having belongings destroyed

- Invading of your personal space#

- Threats to harm themselves, you or those you love

- Makes unwanted sexual advances or pressuring you to engage in sexual activity

- Pushes or shoves you

- Hits or strikes you

- Throws objects

There are many helplines and charities that support those experiencing domestic abuse I have listed a few below:

Woman’s aid

Refuge for women 0808 2000 247

Men’s advice line: 0808 8010327

Galop (LGBT) 0800 999 5428

If you get into contact with one of these, they will be able to assist you in many different ways from having someone to talk to, signposting you to helpful resources and even helping you to escape the situation if and when you are ready.

You can go at our own pace. There is no pressure or judgement from any of these helplines and charities.

Helping a friend who is being abused.

If you are worried about a friend but they haven’t divulged that they are being abused, it is okay to make them aware you have noticed a change and that you are worried about them, but they may not be ready to talk to you. It is important not to push the issue and just make them aware that if or when they need you, you will be there for them.

If someone confides in, you that they are suffering domestic abuse it is important that you make them aware they are in a safe space. Let them know that there is no judgement and anything they discuss with you will be in confidence.

The most important thing to do is listen. Actively listen to the person and take care not to blame them or cast judgment on the situation or abuser. Your opinions may not be helpful in the situation it is easy for someone to retreat if they feel judged and this may mean that they will not feel they can speak to you again about the issues.

It is perfectly okay to encourage a person by letting them know they do not deserve this and perhaps advising them to contact a dedicated service or their GP. You could even suggest that you would dbe happy to accompany them to the police station or to sit with them while they call the police but do not be too forceful on the matter.

Ultimately the victim needs to be in charge of the situation. It is their choice what they do next. Many people do not leave the first time they confide in someone, and this can be very frustrating for the person that now knows someone they care about is being abused. You have to sit by knowing this information it can be easy to judge or get annoyed. Try not to. One day they will hopefully be strong enough and realise they deserve better, and they will need you.

Domestic abuse is often a subject of wellbeing that is overlooked as it is a difficult subject to talk about. Statistically speaking it is likely there are people in your organisation that are experiencing abuse at home. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime. Our amazing team of psychologists have developed a training package for organisations to help understand domestic abuse, learn to recognise the signs, and discover how to support colleagues in need.

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