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Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a widespread problem and is still mostly a hidden crime. In the UK every week two women are killed by their current or ex-partner and it is estimated that there are at least 100,000 victims at high risk of serious harm or murder.

Although women are the majority of victims, men also can experience domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can be seen in teenage relationships, too; it is estimated that there are at least 3,500 young people at high risk of serious domestic abuse in the UK today.

What is Domestic Abuse?

The government’s definition 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”

Abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. It includes so-called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Can domestic abuse affect children?

The answer is yes. In most families where there is domestic abuse children will be aware of it and may even hear or see it happening. It is thought at least 130,000 children live in households where serious abuse is taking place.

Most children will be affected in some way by what they see, hear or know about. They may feel angry, guilty, alone, frightened or powerless. This might show up as anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, bed wetting, self-harm or problems at school. Children could learn behaviours they see in their family members; they might learn that violence is an acceptable form of behaviour.

What can you do if you experience domestic abuse?

Phone 999 if you or someone else is in danger and ask for the Police.

Help available in East Sussex:

  • Refuge – phone 0808 2000 247
    National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run in partnership with Women’s Aid
  • 24hr referral number for East Sussex Refuges – phone 07795 968 400
    There are five refuges in East Sussex. Accommodation is usually a private bedroom for the woman and her children and shared bathrooms, lounge, kitchens, laundry, garden, etc., although the Eastbourne refuge offers self-contained flats. Accommodation is of a good standard, and bedding, towels, cooking equipment, and emergency provisions are provided. Self-referrals as well as agency referrals are accepted. The telephone referral and assessment process is quick, with admission usually on the same day.
  • Sussex Police – phone 101 when it is not an emergency

  • CRI Community IDVA Service and CRI Children’s Therapeutic Service – phone 01424 716 629
    Community IDVA Service provides information, advocacy and practical and emotional support to women, men and children living with domestic abuse and violence in the East Sussex area. Their aim is to support people to make informed choices through their confidential service and they can support survivors through the court process. Children’s Therapeutic Service workers are trained and experienced in working with children, young people and their parents. They will work with parents and care givers to identify children who may be in need of individual therapeutic play sessions or counselling. Sessions are once a week on the same day, time and place in a child-friendly setting, during term time only.
  • Men’s Advice Line – phone 0808 801 0327
    Confidential helpline for men who experience violence from their partners or ex-partners
  • Respect – phone 0808 802 4040
    Information and advice line for anyone who is violent and/or abusive towards their partner
  • Housing Options Teams in East Sussex
    Your local authority will explain your housing options. This may mean they can help you to stay safe in your own home or help you to find accommodation.

    • Eastbourne Housing Options Team – phone 01323 415 302
    • Hastings Housing Options Team – phone 01424 451 212
    • Lewes Housing Options Team – phone 01273 484 006
    • Rother Housing Options Team – phone 01424 787 999
    • Wealden Housing Options Team – phone 01323 443 501
  • Sanctuary Schemes in East Sussex
    These help people to make their homes secure so that they are kept safe from a violent partner who may attempt to force entry.

    • Eastbourne Sanctuary Scheme – phone 01323 415 922
    • Hastings Sanctuary Scheme – phone 0845 274 1101
    • Lewes Sanctuary scheme – phone 01273 484 006
    • Rother Sanctuary Scheme – phone 01424 787 593
    • Wealden Sanctuary Scheme – phone 01323 443 380
  • Shelter – phone 0808 800 4444
    Free national helpline for housing advice
  • Victim Support – phone 0845 30 30 900
    Supports victims to cope with the effects of crime, including support through criminal procedures
  • Rights of Women Legal Advice Line – phone 0207 251 6577
    Free, confidential legal advice for women by women
  • Migrant Helpline – phone 01424 461 225
    Support and advice for asylum seekers and refugees living in East Sussex

Useful websites

This is ABUSE

Website for teenagers where they can get more advice and support on abusive relationships, violence, controlling behaviours and consent. The ‘This is Abuse’ campaign is aimed at preventing teenagers from becoming perpetrators and victims of abusive relationships

Refuge offers a range of services that gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation. These include refuges, culturally specific services and outreach services. Refuge runs the National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Women’s Aid.

Women’s Aid
Women’s Aid is a national charity working to end domestic violence against women
and children. They support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK. Women’s Aid runs the National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Refuge.

The Hideout
This website provides useful information for children and young people about life in a
refuge, abusive relationships and support services. There are two separate areas, one for children and one for young people.

Penny Beale Memorial Fund
The Penny Beale Memorial Fund is an East Sussex charity working to raise awareness of domestic violence and provide support to victims. The charity provides education and training services.

Counselling Directory

The Counselling Directory is a confidential service that brings together the information required to help individuals find a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist in their local area. The directory contains information on many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events.