Figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales in 2019 revealed an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16 - 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year - 1.6 million women and 786,000 men. It’s important that there is a clear understanding of how to recognise domestic abuse in ourselves and in others.
Domestic abuse can be present physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially and sexually. It can be a singular incident or a pattern of incidents where controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour takes place at any point in a relationship or after a relationship has ended. This behaviour often gets progressively worse, so it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
How do you know if you or someone you know is being abused?
For victims, it’s very difficult to speak out about their abuse as most abuse is centred around fear. But it’s important to seek the help you need or on behalf of a loved one. There are a few signs of domestic abuse that can include, but are not limited to, the below:
- Change in behaviour/being forced to alter their behaviour
- Frightened of their partner’s or family member’s reaction
- Excuses for injuries
- Personality changes
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Seeming fearful
- Skipping work or socials for no clear reason
- Developing an alcohol or drug problem
What can you do about it?
The police are there to support and protect you. They have the power to arrest perpetrators and hold them to account if they have committed a crime - as well as help and support victims.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you must call 999. If you are worried or scared about being overheard, then follow this system:
- Call 999
- The operator will ask which emergency service you need
- Do not respond and your call will be forwarded to an operating system
- Press 55 and the operator will transfer you to your police force as an emergency
For further help and support, visit The Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB).