Domestic abuse

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Staying safe during Covid-19

The impact of Covid-19 means that most people are now staying at home for long periods. You may find these resources useful.

You’ll find up to date Governmental information and further support available here.

All Optivo residents worried about self-isolating with someone who’s harming or may harm them will be supported to access help and advice. Please contact us or if it's an emergency please call 999 immediately.

We take all reports of domestic abuse seriously. We’ll work alongside specialist services to support those affected and enable them to live a life free of abuse and violence.
 

At Optivo we believe everyone has the right to live free from domestic abuse and violence. 

What is domestic abuse?

The UK Government states that domestic abuse can be an incident or a pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive behaviour, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people aged 16 or over.

This can include partners and ex partners, family members and can happen to anyone regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnic group.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to:Image: Woman at a window

  • Physical - hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, spitting, damaging your property

  • Sexual - making you do things you don’t want to, videoing you or sharing images against your will or without your knowledge

  • Financial - taking your money, not paying the bills or rent, withholding money for household items, getting you into debts, not letting you work or study

  • Psychological - mind games, isolating you from others, stalking you, blaming you for their behaviour, 

  • Emotional - calling you names, making you feel worthless, using your children against you.

Domestic abuse can also include, so called Honour Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage.

How we can help

If you feel afraid of someone in your home or you have concerns about one of our residents please contact us, as our specialist domestic abuse team can help confidentially.

Always call 999 in an emergency. Further advice is available from the National UK Domestic Violence 24-hour Helpline: 0808 2000 247.


This is what you can expect from us:
  • We treat all reports of domestic abuse in a non-judgemental way.

  • We’ll provide support, even if you don’t want to involve the Police. 

  • We’ll keep you informed and seek your consent before we take any action.

  • We can refer you to specialist organisations such as Womens’ Aid or Victim Support. We can help make your home safer and help you to stay safe.

  • We’ll not require survivors to take legal action or to contact the police before we provide assistance. Any action we take will be with the survivor’s consent.  The only exception is if there is risk of serious harm to the survivor or another person.
We want to ensure you get the right support and may work with other agencies such as Refuge, Victim Support, Women's Aid, the police and local authorities.

What else can will we do?

We will assess cases within one full working day and produce a plan of action within seven working days. This will include being given a named case owner.

In high risk cases, we may make a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) referral.

We may take legal action, which can result in the offender losing their home, in order to protect you, our residents and the local community.

Further information about the process can be found in our Domestic Abuse policy.

Contact Us

Matters concerning children

If we’re concerned a child (under the age of 18) is abusing an adult, or a child is being abused, it’ll be addressed under our safeguarding policy.

If you are suffering abuse or you are concerned that one of our residents may be a victim of domestic abuse, please contact us.  

 

Coercive and Controlling Behaviour

Domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.
 

Online and digital abuse

Online platforms are increasingly used to perpetrate domestic abuse.

Online domestic abuse can include behaviours such as monitoring of social media profiles or emails, abuse over social media such as Facebook or Twitter, sharing intimate photos or videos without your consent, using GPs locators or spyware.

Visit the Women's Aid website find out more about staying safe online.

Other useful contacts

We're here to help, but there are other useful agencies you can talk to:

You can find help and support from the National Domestic Violence Helpline, Women’s Aid and Refuge on this helpline number - 0808 2000 247.

Information about local services is easy to find online. You can use the Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse Directory to locate local and specialist domestic abuse support services

Specialist help for male victims:
You can visit: respect.uk.net (for male victims of domestic abuse and also men that are concerned about their own behaviour)

Specialist help available for LGBT victims:
You can visit: galop.org.uk/domesticabuse

Image: a domestic abuse survivor looking out the windowSurvivor stories

‘S’ was in an abusive relationship with her partner for over 10 years.

’He was always very controlling, telling me what to wear, who to talk to but it didn’t start off violent. He would turn up at my workplace with flowers, always FaceTime me and buy me clothes that he said suited me. Then I got pregnant and he started to say I shouldn’t work or go out…"

"I didn’t really have any friends or family nearby so I never argued. Then when our baby was one month old, he kicked me because I said I was thinking about going back to work – from then the abuse just got worse. I thought I would never be able to leave but Optivo have helped me to keep myself and my son safe, they have organised the police injunction, us moving – even when I have had my wobbly moments. Now instead of looking over my shoulder all the time, I am looking forward to the future with my son’’

 

image: a domestic abuse survivor walking on the beach‘R’ was with his abusive partner for seven years

’I was embarrassed at first because I am a man and men are not supposed to be afraid or get beaten by women. My partner had many problems and she would take them out on me and our young child. Once she threw a chair through the window of his bedroom and there was glass all over his bed and floor."

"I knew then I needed to get some help. Optivo were very discreet and treated me with respect. They helped me to understand that this was domestic abuse and then they worked with my family to get us to safety. I cannot thank them enough.
’’


If you want to talk to someone about you situation then our team are on hand. Select the button below to find out how you can get in touch:

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Need to talk to someone?

Always call 999 in an emergency. 

Further advice is available from the National UK Domestic Violence 24-hour Helpline: 0808 2000 247
 

Facts and figures:

  • In the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.6 million women and 786,000 men)

  • Almost half (49%) of all gay and bi men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16

  • One in four lesbian and bi women have experienced domestic abuse in a relationship

  • 130,000 children live in homes where there is high-risk domestic abuse

  • Seven women a month are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales
(Sources: Safe Lives, Stonewall and Office for National Statistics)