What should you do if you should find yourself in an abusive relationship?
1. The first step is to acknowledge that the abuse is happening to you and to stop playing down any abuse you are experiencing. Foyle Women’s Aid is at your disposal and can help you come to terms with the abuse.
2. The second step is to realise that the abuse is not your fault. No-one deserves to be assaulted, humiliated or abused, least of all by someone with whom they share an intimate relationship. Women often blame themselves because they have consistently been told that the abuse is their fault.
3. The third step is to begin seeking the help and support that is available. You will need both emotional and practical help. You can begin this process by talking to a friend that you trust, calling the 24 hour Women’s Aid helpline or calling/dropping in to the Foyle Women’s Aid office. You may want to begin to consider moving away from your abuser to somewhere safe or taking legal action to protect yourself from your abuser.
How can Foyle Women’s Aid Help?
If you or someone you know is experiencing, or has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence in the home, you can call Foyle Women’s Aid on 028 7141 6800 or call the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence helpline on 0808 802 1414, where you can receive help, support and information.
You do not have to be in an emergency situation to contact the Women’s Aid Helpline. The helpline is staffed by paid and voluntary workers, as well as women who have experienced the benefits of Foyle Women’s Aid themselves. The self-help process which allows women to take control of their own lives, underpins the work of Foyle Women’s Aid. They will discuss the practical and legal options available to you and, where necessary, refer you onto a refuge, to the Foyle Women’s Aid office or another agency that can help. Foyle Women’s Aid may also offer aftercare or, face-to-face support.
Should you decide to leave your current situation to move to refuge or to another residence, you will also be given a tailored Safety Plan. The following is an example of a basic Safety Plan;
- Know where the nearest telephone is located.
- Know where refuge can be sought.
- Make a list of important and emergency numbers.
- Save money for bus or taxi fare.
- Have an extra set of keys to home and car.
- Pack an emergency bag, take enough clothes, including school uniforms and children’s favourite possessions.
- Consider when it is best to leave. Discuss it with the children. It is important to try and leave with all of the children.
- Keep important documents together, for example; benefit books, medical cards, birth certificates, bank books, legal orders etc.
- Keep a note of the family’s essential medicines.
However, you do not have to go to a refuge or leave your relationship in order to obtain support from Foyle Women’s Aid.
How to get referred to Foyle Women’s Aid?
Referrals to Foyle Women’s Aid are accepted from –
- Social Services
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- Health Visitor/Midwife
- Family Member
- Doctor/Health Professionals
- Victim Support
Furthermore, you may get in touch with the refuge directly or through the Women’s Aid Helpline. If you need to go to a refuge in an emergency, the police can take you when asked to help. Social workers and GP’s also have lists of Women’s Aid addresses available, which you can access during appointments.