Getting help means different things to different people.
The kind of help you may want or need will depend entirely on you and your circumstances. Some people prefer to work through things themselves or with the help of friends and family.
Women's Aid produced some videos in BSL (British Sign Language) in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these resources were produced specifically in relation to lockdown, they contain information and advice which will be useful at any time if you use BSL.
We’ve included some information in the I need help section that will help you think about what is happening to you, tips on keeping safe and help you decide what you want to do.
However, it may be time to get professional support if the behaviours you are experiencing are at a stage when you or your children are at risk of harm. This may be physical, psychological or emotional harm. Not everyone realises they are at this stage.
Support comes in many different forms. It may be:
- Talking anonymously to someone who will listen and won’t judge
- Telephone outreach advice
- Email advice and support
- Community drop-in sessions
- One to one support from an IDVA or an ISVA
- Legal advice
- If you are in immediate physical danger always call the police on 999
There are many groups and organisations, as well as more formal statutory services, who have trained DA Champions or IDVAs who will be able to help you find the support or help and advice that you may need. These may include places you use regularly or health services that you need to use. Look up some of the services available on the directory and see what options they offer to make contact.
There are apps available for your phone that you can use to store hidden notes and photos or to alert a trusted friend or relative if you need help. Check out the Bright Sky app for keeping records and the Hollieguard app which can track your whereabouts or send an alert. AVA has also launched Breathing Space, an app which provides info on various areas where people are likely to want support, self care and contacts for services. You should make your own enquiries with regard to the security and safety features of these apps.
Other help and information
What's Your Problem can offer locally based legal advice and signposting to other support and advice services. Only Mums and Dads have launched the national Green Phone initiative which gives access to one free telephone conversation with a legal professional.
If you or your partner is a member of the armed forces, the Government have produced some guidance which is intended for use by victims, perpetrators looking to change their behaviour, military or civilian practitioners, chain of command or concerned family and friends. The guidance also signposts to support you can access from within the various armed services.
Risk of harm
If you have had to call the police because of a serious incident, they will assess the level of risk they think you are at using a national risk assessment checklist.
If it is considered you are high risk, you will be referred to MARAC and an IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor) or an ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) will be allocated to you to give you one to one support.
MARAC is short for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference. Basically, it is a meeting where people who are at high risk of harm because of domestic abuse are discussed by representatives from statutory agencies and other organisations. The aim of a MARAC meeting is to create an action plan to keep you and your family as safe as possible. You cannot attend the meetings but your IDVA or ISVA will attend and discuss everything with you.
This leaflet sets out information you may want to know if you have been referred into MARAC. You can download it or print it to keep.