Sometimes, signs of abuse or vulnerability are not that easy to spot. You may just get a feeling that something isn’t quite right. One in Four women and one in six men will experience Domestic Abuse in some form throughout their lifetime.
Signs of abuse
Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.
Domestic abuse also occurs through the actions of immediate and extended family members, friends and associates through unlawful acts such as forced marriage, honour based violence and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
There are many signs of abuse. It can be hard to act on a feeling without any evidence, but always trust your judgment.
There are a number of tell-tale signs of abuse to look out for - in someone’s behaviour or the condition of their property.
- Does someone have unexplained bruising, cuts, scars? Do they appear to be in pain or are they withdrawn, anxious frightened, flinching etc.? Do they avoid eye contact, are they particularly nervous?
- Damage to their property – are there holes/dents in doors and walls? Are there missing locks on bathroom doors or is there unusual access restrictions to other rooms?
- Does the person try to hide or over explain damage to property or injuries?
- Do they have untreated medical conditions or injuries?
- Is the home condition poor? Cluttered, dirty, flies, soiled bedding and dirty clothes?
- Is there any evidence of drug or substance misuse?
- Does the person have poor personal hygiene? Do they have bad body odour?
- Does a child act in an inappropriate way? For example, using sexual explicit language or using sexually explicit behaviour, showing fear, anxiety, protectiveness over a person.
- Does the person have adequate provisions (food)? Do they appear malnourished or hungry?
- Does the person minimise the actions and behaviours of the potential perpetrator?
- Does the person ‘blame’ themselves for things that happen to them?
- Does the person avoid contact with family and friends? Has contact changed or stopped?
- Is the person prevented from having freedom to socialise and spend their own money?
How can I access support and advice from Chorus Homes?
Chorus Homes has a Domestic Abuse Policy and trained advisors who can help to risk assess and sign post victims of abuse in their journey to becoming survivors. Support is not exclusive to victims, our team can support and guide friends and family members who want to help.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse please contact us and ask to speak to our domestic abuse leads – you can call us on 0345 266 9760 or use the contact form.
If someone is at immediate risk of harm please contact the Police on 999
Silent calls to Police can be made by dialling 999 and then pressing 55 – The operator will be notified to transfer the call to the Police who will listen and respond as needed.
For non-emergency Police reports please dial 101 or report online:
- Cambridgeshire - www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report
- Bedfordshire - bedfordshire.police.uk/report/Report-Shared/Report-a-crime
- Essex - www.essex.police.uk/
Feeling at risk
If a person needs to remove themselves from immediate risk they can contact Refuge on the free 24 Hour Helpline 0808 2000 247.
Alternatively Local Authorities (District and Unitary Council Services) may be able to assist with emergency accommodation.
- The Respect Phone line
For domestic violence perpetrators
- National Domestic Violence Helpline
- Cambridgeshire Rape Crisis
- Men’s Advice Line:
- Karma Nirvana
For victims of honour crimes
- Web: karmanirvana.org.uk
- Phone: 0800 5999247
- Women’s Aid
- Phone: 07787 255821
Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app, launched in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
The app is also designed to be used by specialist and non-specialist practitioners and other employers, and for anyone looking for information about issues around domestic abuse such as online safety, stalking and harassment and sexual consent.
In most temporary accommodation settings pets are not allowed. This can be a reason that a person may remain in their abusive situation instead of escaping the risk of harm. There are agencies that can support people to temporarily care for and provide homes to much loved pets.
- For cats visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/paws-protect
- For dogs visit www.moretodogstrust.org.uk/freedom-project/freedom-project
Huntingdonshire has a specialist outreach service that can help pet owners to care for and manage their pets as well as providing essential guidance in emergency situations. To find out more visit the Wood Green Animal Shelter website, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0300 303 9333 or write to them at Wood Green, King’s Bush Farm, London Road, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire PE29 2NH.
Make a Stand pledge
In May 2018 Chorus Homes Group signed up to Make a Stand. It is a pledge made by the Chartered Institute of Housing developed in partnership with the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) Women's Aid.
Our four pledges, which we have successfully put in place, are:
- Put in place an embedded policy to support customers affected by domestic abuse
- Make information about domestic abuse support services available on our website and in other accessible places
- Put in place a HR policy to support members of staff who may be affected by domestic abuse
- Appoint a champion at a senior level in the organisation to own the activity we are doing to support those affected by domestic abuse