WE BELIEVE YOU!
If you’re in immediate danger, call 999 . If you’re unable to speak, press 55 on your mobile keypad and answer the questions you’re asked as safely as possible. Pressing 55 ONLY works from a mobile phone.
Home should be a safe place, but for 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and all of those victim’s children, it isn’t. For those people, home is a battle ground.
We understand that anybody can be affected by Domestic Abuse and that it’s never the fault of the victim.
JLTS will help survivors of any age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality recover and heal from their experiences. We won’t judge, we’ll listen, gently and compassionately.
Ways we will help:
We will help surviving parents understand the impact on their children and work with the whole family to help and support them to rebuild their relationships
We will offer children a safe space to explore their feelings and help them to understand and process them.
Families will have access to our Peer 2 Peer support service – An opportunity to talk things through and make plans with the support of someone who has been there and understands.
Adult survivors will have access to Freedom Programme or Phoenix Group
Children will have access to individual (or sibling groups) therapeutic support.
The government is in the process of updating the definition of Domestic Abuse after some very welcome changes were made to the Domestic Abuse Act recently recognising children as victims in their own right among other things. If you’d like to know more, you can visit this Gov.uk website:
Children and Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse can have a serious and long-lasting impact on a child's life, and they may experience more than one type of abuse. Find out how to recognise the signs in children and young people and how you can help prevent and respond to it on the NSPCC website.
For information on the different types of child abuse, advice and guidance please see:
NSPCC Phyiscal Abuse
NSPCC Emotional Abuse
NSPCC Sexual Abuse
What is Domestic Abuse and how does it affect our children? We discuss this question in our Blog and offer some advice, hints and tips on how to help children who have suffered the trauma of abuse.
Am I in an Abusive Relationship?
How do you recognise if you are in an abusive relationship?
Domestic Abuse isn’t just physical. It can also be financial, sexual or emotional (coercive control).
It can be perpetrated by anybody who’s close to you, not just a spouse or partner, it could be a child abusing a parent or a grandparent. It’s a pattern of behaviour that’s designed to provoke fear or cause intimidation.
If you feel frightened at home or think you are in an abusive relationship, you should speak to a Domestic Abuse service for some advice and support.
Early Warning -
The Danger Signs of Domestic Abuse
Watch our video below to see some examples of early warning danger signs of Domestic Abuse, it may help you to assess if your relationship is healthy. If you have any concerns or are unsure, please get in touch with us for a chat.
Domestic Abuse can affect ANYONE - either as a victim or as a perpetrator. It doesn't simply affect older people, married couples, straight people, gay people... it doesn't matter how wealthy or not you are, where you come from, how you identify, or what your skin colour is... Anyone, at any time, in any form of ‘intimate' relationship, can be affected. Intimate does not always have to be sexual; it can also refer to a relationship between a parent and a child.
In an abusive relationship, there are ALWAYS early warning signals, but we're typically too caught up in the excitement and romance to see them. We think to ourselves 'it was a one-time thing', or 'we're being overly sensitive', but the red flags are real, and we'll usually regret ignoring them...
Abuse ALWAYS starts in the mind — if your mind hasn't been abused, you're unlikely to put up with your body being abused, therefore the abuser always begins by questioning your mind – frequently to the point where you lose track of where the abuser ends and you begin. You start to question yourself about everything, and by doing so, you give the abuser the power and control they desire.
It's all about Power and Control when it comes to Domestic Abuse. It has nothing to do with mental health, money, sex, stress, addiction, culture, employment, family, or even the colour of the sky. It's ALWAYS all about Power and Control.
The following are some of the most common alarm bells / danger signs to be aware of:
Isolation - The abuser will cut you off from your life before them - preventing you from visiting friends, relatives, and sometimes even preventing you from attending school, college, or job.
Love Bombing — Excessive shows of emotion and ‘love' – gifts of flowers, chocolates or a new phone for example... The abuser will want your complete time and attention at ALL times. They may be discussing living together or getting married within in a very short period of time.
The Velcro Effect - Because the abuser can't handle being separated from you for fear of you seeing them for who they really are, they make you the centre of their universe and then whine when you want to do other things. They'll say they have "trust issues" and that you're the ONLY person who can help them...
The Joker - Judges or criticises everything you do, from your clothing choices to your friends & family, and everything in between. These criticisms are frequently disguised as ‘jokes' - they are delivered with genuine venom whilst wearing their most winning smile. Therefore it will always be you who can't take a joke or can't see the funny side of things.
Words have A LOT of power. Most abusers never physically harm their victims; they aren't stupid; they know bruises and marks are evidence.
Do you need to be concerned about being in an abusive relationship? A quick test can help you assess:
Take a look at your phone. Find the most recent message you received as an "apology" for something.
Check to see if the apology contains Just, But or Only...
Just – Minimises the abuse – “It was JUST a joke/slap”
But – Excuses the abuse – “BUT you were winding me up!”
Only – Normalises the abuse – “I ONLY did it because you were out of control”
“I'm sorry BUT it was JUST a slap and I ONLY did it because you were winding me up!” - the highly skilled abuser can get all three of these words into the ‘apology' with minimal effort!
And so, just like that, it's all your fault. Your responsibility that they attacked you physically...
Replay the video... Count how many Justs, Buts and Onlys you can find...
Then contact us and we'll help you stay safe — whether you decide to stay in your relationship or not, you should always choose safety.
Help! I think I'm in an abusive relationship. What should I do?
Unless you’re in immediate danger, DON’T JUST LEAVE!! We know the risk of abuse in an abusive relationship increases significantly at the point that the victim decides to leave. Speak to your local DA service (check our resources page for services in Swale & Medway), get some specialist advice and a Safety Plan (see below). If the relationship you’re concerned about isn’t between adult partners, get in touch with us for a chat.
Whether you are planning to leave your relationship or not, a SAFETY PLAN is essential. It is a plan to keep you and your children as safe as possible from harm and abuse.
Here are some Safety Planning Top Tips:
Unless you are in immediate danger, DON’T JUST LEAVE! We know that just leaving, without a plan and the right support, could further increase your risk of abuse.
HAVE A PLAN
Whether it’s a plan to stay and stay safe or a plan to leave and stay safe, having a plan is essential. It doesn’t have to be written down but it should be shared with all the people who you may need to rely on for help if there is a crisis.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
You are doubtlessly an expert in your abusive partner’s behaviour, so use that knowledge. If they have ‘triggers’ (things you know will set them off) then you can go some way to predicting their behaviour and perhaps avoid or minimise an outburst.
Speak to all the relevant agencies and services - Benefits, Housing, Social Services, Schools, Domestic Abuse Services, your workplace, Banks, Mobile Phone Providers - and be clear about what support they can offer you if/when you need it. Store these numbers in your phone under random names so that you always have them.
If you have a trusted person (this could be a friend, family member, neighbour, colleague or professional) tell them what is going on and what your plan is. Work out a system for safeguarding with them so that if you communicate with them in a particular way, they will know that you need help. We often suggest having a code word which can be used by you or your children to get help if you need it.
If you are able, start to gather the things you will need if you have to flee. These will include things like some money, important documents such as birth and marriage certificates (get copies if you need to), passports and driving license, tenancy or mortgage documents, proof of benefits, bank and credit card statements, any documents relating to the children, prescriptions and medications, a spare set of car and house keys if possible, and a new SIM card for your phone. You may also want to have a change of clothes for you and your children and a few small toys which could be stored somewhere, or with someone, safely.
KNOW YOUR EXIT ROUTE
Plan how you can escape quickly and safely from the home if there is an incident. Practise this often and be sure that your keys, money and phone are kept in a set place where you can grab them easily on your way through. Have a pre-arranged destination - a safe place you can go to - don’t just leave and wander aimlessly. If you do not have a trusted person who can keep you safe, go to your nearest Police Station where they can help you to access emergency DA services.
PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN
Depending on their age, your children may need to know how to call 999 or someone else for help. Make sure they know what you need them to do and how to do it safely. Teach them not to try and intervene, but to leave the house preferably, or at least leave the room, before making a call so that they do not become the focus of the abuse. Use speed dial presets on yours and their phones, keep them the same on all phones and tell the children of any code words you have agreed and with which people. Remind them that they should call 999 in an emergency and that if they cannot speak, they should press 55 on the keypad and the call will be diverted to a trained DA responder.
KEEP A DIARY
Whenever there is an incident with an abusive partner, keep a note of it. Time, date, nature of incident etc. It doesn’t matter whether you consider the incident to be ‘serious’ or not, keeping a log of events will be invaluable if there ever needs to be Police or other Statutory Agency (Social Services, Court proceedings etc) involvement with you or your children. It evidences a “pattern of abuse” which agencies need to see in order to help keep you safe.