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What can I do if I'm affected by domestic violence or abuse?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting everyone's day to day life. But for a victim and their children experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse, the impact is significant and can put them in danger.

South Tyneside Council and partners are here for you and your family and services, although they might be delivered differently, are still available. You still have options and we will do everything to help you.

For more information about the help and support available, see Coronavirus (COVID-19): Domestic abuse support

  1. Overview
  2. Who to contact
  3. Staying safe
  4. Clare's Law

Overview

Everyone has arguments, and everyone disagrees with their partners, family members and others close to them from time to time.

We all do things at times that we regret, and which cause unhappiness to those we care about. But if this begins to form a consistent pattern, then it is an indication of domestic violence or abuse.

Women's Aid has produced a Recognising Domestic Abuse Questionnaire that may help you to understand whether you are suffering domestic violence or abuse.

Who to contact

In an emergency always contact the police on 999.

There is a range of domestic violence and abuse services that might be able to help you, including:

  • Ask for ANI at a local pharmacy - ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately. This codeword is a discreet way to ask for emergency help from the safety of your local pharmacy. Visit the government website for more about Ask for ANI.
  • Options (Impact Family Services) provides confidential and non-judgemental support to women over 16, on domestic abuse issues, in a safe place and can be contacted on 07375 788 835.
  • Places for People (South Tyneside Women's Aid) Women's Refuge offers advice and support as well as providing safe, temporary and emergency accommodation, and can be contacted on (0191) 454 8257.

See a full list of domestic violence and abuse services.

Staying safe

If you're worried about someone knowing you have visited these web pages, the Women's Aid website has help and advice on how to cover your tracks online.

Women's Aid have also developed The Survivor's Handbook which provides practical support and information for women experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

The Handbook includes making a safety plan to help you to protect yourself and your children. It helps you plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse. It also helps you to think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship, or if you decide to leave, including:

  • Planning how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations
  • Teaching your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they would need to say (for example, their full name, address and telephone number)
  • Rehearsing an escape plan, so in an emergency you and the children can get away safely
  • Packing an emergency bag for yourself and your children, and hiding it somewhere safe (for example, at a neighbour's or friend's house, but try to avoid mutual friends or family)
  • Trying to go to a lower risk area of the house if you suspect that your partner is about to attack you (for example where there is a way out and access to a telephone and avoiding places where there are likely to be knives or other weapons)

The Handbook also includes advice on helping friends and family who are victims of domestic violence and abuse, including:

  • Acknowledging that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse
  • Telling them that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser may have told them
  • Asking if they have suffered physical harm and, if so, offering to go with them to a hospital or to see their GP
  • Helping them to report the violence or abuse to the police, if they choose to do so
  • Providing information on organisations that offer help to abused women and their children
  • Offering them the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and telling them you will look after an emergency bag for them, if they want that

Remember to look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation.  For example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about them or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.

Clare's Law

The Home Office has introduced a scheme allowing police to disclose to individuals details of their partners' abusive pasts.

Clare's Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) aims to ensure that more people can make informed decisions about their relationship and escape if necessary.

For more information, or to make a request for information, visit the Northumbria Police website.

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