Domestic abuse services
Figures show that one in four women and in one in six men suffer from domestic abuse during their lifetime*. Our services in East Sussex are here to help people experiencing domestic abuse to stay safe and make informed decisions. They offer a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment where individuals and families can explore the different options available to them. Support includes advice on how to stay safe, access to counselling and mental health services, advice on housing and finance issues and support through civil and criminal legal proceedings.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse describes 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. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of age, class, culture, race, religion, sexuality, gender, disability or diversity.
It’s not always easy to recognise when you’re being abused as it can happen gradually and may involve subtle, controlling patterns of behaviour that you don’t immediately pick up on. Either way, if you are in a relationship that is making you afraid or that is affecting your health and wellbeing, it might be time to talk to someone.
How domestic abuse can affect children
Many parents think they can hide the signs of domestic abuse from their children, but the reality is that children witness around three-quarters of abusive incidents. This can have serious effects on the health and wellbeing of children, both in their infancy and adolescence, and later on as adults. Symptoms can include anxiety and depression, panic attacks, becoming sullen or withdrawn, self-harm, aggression, eating disorders, severe nightmares and physical pain, such as headaches. Some of these symptoms may continue into adulthood. Studies have also shown that up to two thirds of children living with domestic abuse will be abused themselves. In the longer term, some adults may go on to become involved in abusive relationships because of their experiences although this is certainly not the case for everyone.
If you need help now
If you are ever in a life-threatening situation it is very important you call 999 immediately. If you live in East Sussex, you can contact our domestic abuse services by searching for them here. If you live outside East Sussex, you can find your nearest support centre through your local authority, details of which can be found through the Directgov website here. If you need to talk to someone outside of working hours, Women’s Aid and Refuge jointly run a free 24-hour national helpline on 0800 2000 247.
If you’re worried about a loved one
Watching someone you love being abused can be extremely distressing and it’s not always easy to know how to help. Let your friend or family member know that you’re worried about them and that you are there to support them. Don’t judge them or try and pressure them to leave – they need to make that decision themselves, and in their own time. You can also give them the contact number for their local support service, or the helpline number above so they can quickly access help if they need to. If you witness an assault or you're concerned about someone's immediate safety it's important you call 999.
*Figures from http://survivorsofdomesticabuse.co.uk/