Domestic abuse takes different forms, it is any act of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse which can be psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial. The abusive person could be bullying, sulking, blame shifting, using force in sex and claiming it to be playful or controlling your:
- children or being cruel to them
- mail, mobile phone or emails.
How domestic abuse could affect your child
Your child could be traumatised by seeing and hearing violence and abuse against an adult. They may be directly targeted by the abuser. Your child may take on a protective role and get caught in the middle. In the long term they could develop mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, or start to self-harm.
Domestic Abuse can also start or continue during pregnancy and research has shown that this can increase the potential of harm to an unborn child.
It has also found to be a factor in a number of Serious Case Reviews (which take place when a child has suffered serious injury due to abuse or neglect) in Surrey.
Signs that you are a victim of abuse
There could be other reasons why you have these feelings but being the victim of abuse can lead to you:
- feeling isolated
- having low self esteem
- becoming reliant on alcohol, anti-depressants or other drugs
- losing your independence and privacy
- feeling threatened or manipulated
- feeling that you're being pushed into a relationship quicker than you feel comfortable with
- becoming cut off from your family and friends
- being stalked or harassed, especially after separation
How you can help your child
- Explain that any form of abuse is wrong.
- If they don't want to discuss things with you, encourage them to talk to someone they trust about their concerns.
- Tell them about helplines and websites aimed at them.
- Plan together what they should do when they feel unsafe.
What you can do to help yourself
- You are not alone and you can get practical help as well as a sympathetic ear from charities and support groups.
- If leaving is the best solution then it is a good idea to pack a bag that includes your and your child's birth certificates, passports, bank account details and any other important documents and leave it with someone you trust.
- When you're ready, take yourself and your child to a safe place such as a refuge.