“What can I do if I am experiencing domestic violence?”
It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that you are experiencing domestic violence. Once you have acknowledged that you are being abused the next step is to recognise that you are not to blame. Women often blame themselves because they have been consistently told it is their fault. No-one deserves to be abused in any manner whether it be physical, emotional, sexual or financial.
Remember the following:
- You are not alone. In Ireland, one woman in five is abused during her lifetime.
- You don’t have to deal with this alone.
- It is not your fault.
- You cannot change your abuser.
- Domestic violence is a crime.
At Clare Haven we are dedicated to helping and supporting women who are in abusive relationships or have been in abusive relationships in the past. We provide support, help and information in a confidential, safe and non-judgemental environment. What you decide to do is up to you. You may feel you need time to consider your situation, you may wish to remain at home with support or you may decide to leave. Whatever you decide your safety and your children’s safety is paramount.
If you are LIVING in an abusive relationship there are some steps you can take to increase your safety. Always take you and your children’s safety seriously. You cannot always avoid violent incidents and do not have control over your partner’s violence. You do have a choice how to respond and getting yourself and your children to safety.
Thinking through the following in advance can help you get out of your home safely and quickly if necessary:
- A safe place where you and your children can go to stay in an emergency. This may be with a friend, family member, women’s refuge or hotel/B&B.
- Where you can go to make a telephone call and the phone number of a safe place easily to hand. Alternatively, have enough credit in your mobile phone at all times to make contact.
- How to get to the safe place. Have enough money for a bus or taxi fare, or enough petrol in your car.
- What to tell the children, and how to tell it to them, if you need to put the safety plan into action.
- Make a list of important and emergency phone numbers you may need (e.g. taxi, doctor, Garda station, refuge).
- Keep important documents together (e.g. PPS Number, Child Benefit book etc).
- Keep a record of you and your children’s essential medication.
If it is safe for you to do so, discuss your Safety Plan with a trusted friend so they can support you if you need to put it into action.