Tag: Legal help
If your partner or ex-partner is threatening, violent or abusive towards you or your child, you may be worried about leaving the relationship. The safety of you and your children is the most important thing. And there are things you can do to make sure you keep yourselves safe during and after a separation.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, help is out there
- 0808 2000 247 – a free 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline
- NHS guidance for getting help for domestic violence and abuse
- How to get help – advice from gov.uk
- Help for women experiencing domestic abuse from Refuge
- Advice line for male victims of domestic abuse from Respect
- Help for LGBT+ people who have experienced domestic abuse from Galop
Domestic abuse comes in lots of different forms – not just violence. It’s important to be able to recognise when you’re in an abusive relationship and know how to leave safely. Womens Aid has lots of support for people experiencing abuse, including a comprehensive handbook full of simple guidance on every aspect of getting support.
Getting legal help
Domestic abuse is a crime, and the law is on your side. You have the right to contact the police to report your abuser. You can also use the law to protect yourself – for example, by getting a Non-Molestation Order or Restraining Order to stop your abuser from contacting you. The Rights of Women website has advice about how to get an emergency court order and keep yourself safe. They also offer free and confidential support over the phone.
Keeping your children safe
You may be worried about your children, especially if their other parent has threatened to take them away or turn them against you. You don’t have to let them see the children, unless a court has decided that they can do this.
If you’re feeling pressured by them to have more contact than you feel is safe, Refuge has advice about protecting your children. You can also call their free, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for advice.
Our page on making child contact arrangements explains more about your options.
Living in a safe place
There are many organisations that will help you leave home and find somewhere safe to live if you’re in an abusive relationship. You can go to a refuge or get emergency housing from your local council. Shelter also has information on the housing rights of domestic abuse survivors and how to get help if you’re homeless because of domestic abuse. The helplines listed on this page will be able to give you specific advice for your situation.
If you’re staying in your home but want to make it safer, ask your council if they have a sanctuary scheme. This can help you make your home more secure by putting in things like stronger doors and locks, window bars and alarms that connect to the police. Your local police may also be able to give you safety advice.
There are processes in place to help you financially when you’re leaving an abusive relationship. The government has made this a priority – and there are special rules to help you if you need to claim benefits.
There are also ways you can claim child maintenance safely if you have experienced domestic abuse. The Child Maintenance Service can keep your identity, location and other information secret from your ex-partner. Our page on claiming child maintenance safely has more.
You can also talk to us for free and confidential advice about how best to deal with your specific situation.
Tips from single parents
We were moved into a B&B after I left and I did my university finals there, writing essay in our little room with 2 kids playing around me. I don’t know how I did it. Single parents have an in-built survival mechanism that just kicks in. You dig deep and you keep going for your kids.
Every day I’m grateful I’m no longer in an abusive relationship. The boys are happy and doing well, and I’m really proud of them. And I just manage to do things – because if you don’t, no one else will.
The relationship I was in with my children’s father wasn’t good – he was emotionally abusive. It took me a long time to get over things once I’d made the decision to end it with him. Even when it’s really bad, you still want to make it work for the kids. Looking back now, I realise that ending it was the best thing I ever did.
I’m so glad I took the steps I did to make my life better. I really want to show other victims of domestic violence that there is a rainbow after the storm. Life does get better. And the only person who can change the situation is you.