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We are a registered charity and depend upon the kind donations of the public to keep our services running.

About Us

Our organisation was founded in 1987, and has helped many thousands of people through the different projects that the organisation provides.

Our mission is to reduce the harm done by domestic violence/abuse and improve the safety, health and well being of all survivors and their children.

To lead in preventing and ending domestic violence/abuse, and to advocate and ensure the safety of all victims of domestic violence/abuse

To educate and raise awareness amongst the public, media, police, judicial system, schools, social services and other agencies & organisations, about the issues involved in domestic violence/abuse, and to challenge the disadvantages which result from domestic violence/abuse, and therefore promote a cohesive inter-agency response.

We are committed to partnership working to ensure that all agencies respond effectively, appropriately and in a coordinated fashion to each incident of domestic violence; maintaining a focus on prevention and early intervention.

We believe that everyone has a right to live in safety and have a future without fear.

Everyone has the right to live free from violence and abuse.

We believe that Society has a duty to recognise and protect this right.

Domestic violence is a violation of a person’s human rights.

Did you know over two women per week are killed by current or ex-partners, and that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime?

Protection, provision, prevention

DVSS W.L is working to improve the standards of protection available to all victims by ensuring that their requirements lead to developments in policies and practice.

We aim to ensure the provision of high quality services for all victims

We aim to work towards the prevention of domestic violence/abuse through education of the public & with young people.

Domestic Violence/Abuse isn’t just violence. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual.

Anyone who is forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused.

It can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a ‘one-off’. One in four women will suffer from domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.

On average a woman is assaulted 35 times before she makes her first call for help.

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity.

However, the vast majority of domestic violence/abuse incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.

You and your children have the right to live in safety. You should not be scared in your own home.

Your partner does not have the right to dominate and control you.

You should not have to worry about how he will react to what you do.

Women’s Aid

Domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. This can include forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’. Domestic violence may include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are in themselves inherently ‘violent’.

A new cross-government definition

The definition of domestic violence will now include ‘coercive control’. (The previous definition defined domestic violence as a single act or incident).

The new definition recognises that patterns of behaviour and separate instances of control can add up to abuse – including instances of intimidation, isolation, depriving victims of their financial independence or material possessions and regulating their everyday behaviour. The new definition will be implemented by March 2013.

The new definition of domestic violence and abuse now states:

“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:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

The government defines controlling and coercive behaviour in the following way:

“Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.”
“Coercive behaviour 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 definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO)  

‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender’.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Working Definition                                                               

‘Any criminal offence arising out of psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse by one person against a current or former partner in a close relationship, or against a current or former family member’. (NB This definition is not restricted to adults).

Note: An adult is defined as any person aged 18 or over. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step family.

Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling

Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening

Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.

Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.

Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.

Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.

Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public.

Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.

Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.

Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.

(WAFE)

(this is by no means exhaustive list)

At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence. Nearly three quarters of children on the ‘at risk’ register live in households where domestic violence occurs” (Dept. of Health, 2002)

In 40 – 70% of cases where women are being abused, the children are also being directly abused themselves (Stark and Flitcraft,1996; Bowker et al., 1998.)

How are children affected by domestic violence ?
The majority of children witness the violence that is occurring, and in 90% of cases they are in the same or next room (Hughes, 1992). Children can ‘witness’ domestic violence in many different ways. For example, they may get caught in the middle of an incident in an effort to make the violence stop. They may be in the room next door and hear the abuse or see their mother’s physical injuries following an incident of violence. They may be forced to stay in one room or may not be allowed to play. They may be forced to witness sexual abuse or they may be forced to take part in verbally abusing the victim. All children witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused.

Are the effects the same for every child?

Children can experience both short and long term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Each child will respond differently to trauma and some may be resilient and not exhibit any negative effects.

Children’s responses to the trauma of witnessing DV may vary according to a multitude of factors including, but not limited to, age, race, sex and stage of development. It is equally important to remember that these responses may also be caused by something other than witnessing domestic violence, and therefore a thorough assessment of a child’s situation is vital.

Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways.

Children may also feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings towards both the abuser and the non-abusing parent.

What’s the legal definition of a child “at risk” in relation to domestic violence?

Children living in households where domestic violence is happening are now identified as “at risk” under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. From 31 January 2005, Section 120 of this act extended the legal definition of harming children to include harm suffered by seeing or hearing ill treatment of others. This would include witnessing domestic abuse

From 31 January 2005, Section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 came into force, which extends the legal definition of harming children to include harm suffered by seeing or hearing ill treatment of others, especially in the home. (WAFE)

Domestic Violence in Teenage Relationships

The official definition of domestic violence is to be changed from March 2013 to ensure that thousands of teenage victims who are abused while in a relationship get the help and support they need. It is also to be widened to explicitly include “coercive control”, which is defined as complex patterns of abuse by one partner using power and psychological control over another, such as financial, verbal abuse or enforced social isolation.

The definition of domestic violence and abuse will now state:

“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:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

“Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

“Coercive behaviour 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.”

Healthy Relationships

* This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is The British Crime Survey has recently found that young people are more likely to suffer partner abuse than any other age group, with 12.7% of women and 6.2% of men aged 16-19 having experienced some kind of domestic abuse in the last year.

A survey of teenagers in 2009 by the children’s charity NSPCC found that 75% of girls experienced some form of emotional abuse, 33% of girls experienced some form of sexual abuse and 25% some form of physical abuse. Three-quarters of the girls surveyed who a partner at least two years older than themselves had said they had experienced some form of physical violence.

Warning signs:

You believe that you deserve to be hurt & humiliated.

You stop seeing your family, to avoid arguments.

You stop seeing your friends to avoid arguments.

You are scared to express your point of view.

You change your behaviour so as not to upset your partner.

Feel afraid of your partner a lot of the time.

Avoid saying things that may cause your partner to loose their temper.

You can contact us for information, support or counselling.

It Can Happen To Anyone, At Any Time In A Relationship

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01695 50600

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WN8 6XZ

 

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