Welcome to the domestic violence and abuse section.
Here, you can find information about support services for victims of domestic violence and abuse, how to spot signs of abuse, and what to do if you or someone you know may be suffering abuse.
What is domestic violence and abuse?
Domestic violence and abuse happens when a partner/ex-partner or other family member hurts or threatens to hurt the victim. It can take place in many forms.
Victims can suffer:
- Physical abuse such as hitting, slapping, punching, biting, hair pulling and burning
- Emotional and psychological abuse through controlling behaviour, put-downs, verbal abuse, humiliation, blaming, and isolation from family, friends and colleagues
- Sexual abuse such as rape, unwanted sexual contact, forcing sex with others, forcing the victim to watch/ take part in pornography or engage in prostitution
- Financial abuse such as being kept without money, preventing the victim from getting or keeping a job and making the victim account for everything they spend
- Harassment and stalking including being watched, followed, pestered, tracked through GPS on their mobile, or receiving unwanted phone calls and text messages
- Social media abuse such as being forced to delete their social media profile or contacts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc…or receiving threatening comments and messages through social media
- Honour based violence and abuse
- Forced marriage
- Female genital mutilation
How to spot signs of domestic violence and abuse
Many victims hide signs of their abuse. They are often afraid of further violence if they were to ask for help, feel embarrassed and ashamed, or feel that nothing will come of seeking support.
Some victims do not recognise that they are being abused, often because they have suffered from long-term abuse and may begin to feel that they deserve it or that it is impossible to escape.
The following are some signs that could mean somebody is suffering from domestic abuse/violence:
- Wearing extra clothes or makeup to hide bruises and marks from violence
- Not being themselves – Constantly fidgeting, showing signs of fear, feeling agitated
- Talking negatively about themselves and saying that they deserve to be treated badly
- Feeling guilty or afraid about upsetting their partner or family member for something minor or not even their fault
- Saying that they are afraid of going home
- Are afraid to answer their phone
- Have had to delete their social media profiles or unfriend colleagues and other people from their networks
- Won’t speak to members of the opposite sex
- Constantly avoiding social gatherings and occasions such as work-dos
Of course, everybody is different and there are other signs that could suggest somebody is suffering from abuse.
If you feel a ‘gut instinct’ that somebody is suffering from abuse, they probably are.
Who can be a victim?
Anybody of any age, sex, gender or race could suffer from domestic violence and abuse.
Children are often the silent victims of domestic violence and if they do not receive help and support from an early stage, this could affect their social and personal development with long term psychological problems.
Services in Wandsworth
If the victim is in immediate danger call 999.
For non-emergencies or to report a incident call the Metropolitan Police on 101.
Hestia Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy 020 3879 3544
An independent and confidential advocacy service for all victims of domestic abuse in the borough. The crime does not have to be reported and an incident does not have to have recently taken place to access the service. More information can be found here: Hestia Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy.
24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (Refuge) 0808 2000 247 – www.refuge.org.uk
For free and impartial 24 hour advice and support contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Wandsworth Council Adult Social Services Access team: 020 8871 7707 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If you suspect that a child may be at risk, call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team: 020 8871 6622 or e-mail email@example.com
For advice and information call the Community Safety Division: 020 8871 6437
Wandsworth after hours: 020 8871 6000