If you are affected by domestic abuse

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.