Domestic abuse

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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, 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

  • Economic - 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

Under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children are now considered victims of domestic abuse.

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 | Home 

Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – Please call 01823 334244 to speak to us confidentially - (mankind.org.uk)

Specialist help available for LGBTQ+ victims:
You can visit: 404 - Galop

Specialist help available for Black victims:
You can visit: Southall Black Sisters - Southall Black Sisters

Support For Black Survivors Of Abuse | HERSANA. | England

Specialist help available for victims of digital abuse:
You can visit: Information and support on tech abuse | Refuge Tech Safety

Specialist help available for perpetrators of domestic abuse:
You can visit: Respect | Home

Dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse:
You can visit: Freedom Project | Help & Support | Dogs Trust

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:

  • Every year nearly 2 million people in the UK suffer some form of domestic abuse - 1.3 million female victims (8.2% of the population) and 600,000 male victims (4% of the population) 

 

  • Every year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse 

 

  • 62% of children living with domestic abuse are directly harmed by the perpetrator of the abuse, in addition to the harm caused by witnessing the abuse of others

 

  • 7 women per month are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales

 

  • 170,000 women and girls living in the UK have undergone female genital mutilation

 

  • Domestic abuse occurs in approximately 25% - 38% of same sex relationships

 

  • Transgender individuals may be at even higher risk with some research suggesting 80% of transgender people have experienced abusive behaviour from a partner or former partner

(Sources: About domestic abuse | Safelives, What is domestic abuse? — Standing Together and Support For Black Survivors Of Abuse | HERSANA. | England)