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What should you do if you should find yourself in an abusive relationship?

1. The first step is to acknowledge that the abuse is happening to you and to stop playing down any abuse you are experiencing. Foyle Women’s Aid is at your disposal and can help you come to terms with the abuse.


2. The second step is to realise that the abuse is not your fault. No-one deserves to be assaulted, humiliated or abused, least of all by someone with whom they share an intimate relationship. Women often blame themselves because they have consistently been told that the abuse is their fault.

3. The third step is to begin seeking the help and support that is available. You will need both emotional and practical help. You can begin this process by talking to a friend that you trust, calling the 24 hour Women’s Aid helpline or calling/dropping in to the Foyle Women’s Aid office. You may want to begin to consider moving away from your abuser to somewhere safe or taking legal action to protect yourself from your abuser.

How can Foyle Women’s Aid Help?

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence in the home, you can call Foyle Women’s Aid on 028 7141 6800 or call the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence helpline on 0808 802 1414, where you can receive help, support and information.

You do not have to be in an emergency situation to contact the Women’s Aid Helpline. The helpline is staffed by paid and voluntary workers, as well as women who have experienced the benefits of Foyle Women’s Aid themselves. The self-help process which allows women to take control of their own lives, underpins the work of Foyle Women’s Aid. They will discuss the practical and legal options available to you and, where necessary, refer you onto a refuge, to the Foyle Women’s Aid office or another agency that can help. Foyle Women’s Aid may also offer aftercare or, face-to-face support.

How to get referred to Foyle Women’s Aid?

Referrals to Foyle Women’s Aid are accepted from –

• Self-referrals

• Friends/Relatives

• Social Services



• Samaritans

• The Citizens Advice Bureau

• Health Visitor/Midwife

• Family Member

• Doctor/Health Professionals

• Victim Support

Furthermore, you may get in touch with the refuge directly or through the Women’s Aid Helpline. If you need to go to a refuge in an emergency, the police can take you when asked to help. Social workers and GP’s also have lists of Women’s Aid addresses available, which you can access during appointments.

Safety Planning

Your safety is the most important thing.

If you are living in an abusive relationship, you might need to think about…

1. Have a list of important numbers handy e.g. police, Women’s Aid, Helpline, friends.
2. Trusted friends or neighbours you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to contact the police if they hear angry voices or violent noises coming from your home.
3. If you have children teach them to dial 999. Make up a code word that you will use if you need help.
4. How you can get out of your house safely.
5. Are there any weapons in the house? How could you get them out of the house.
6. Where you could go? Even if you don’t plan to leave, consider ways of getting out of the house if you needed to.
7. Pack an emergency bag of items that you need every day and hide it where it is easy to get.
8. Review your safety plan often.

If you are considering leaving your abuser, think about…

1. Places you could go if you leave your home.
2. Who could help you if you left?
3. People who could keep a bag for you.
4. Make plans for your pets
5. Keeping change for phone calls or keeping credit on your mobile phone.
6. Get a spare set of car and house keys.
7. Opening a bank account in your name.
8. Gather together important documents, bank books, benefit cards, legal orders, record of medications.
9. How you might leave? Times and opportunities for leaving the house safely.
10. How you could take your children with you safely
11. Putting together a bag of things that you need every day e.g. clothes, school uniforms and children’s favourite possessions.

Abusers try to control their victim’s lives. When they experience a loss of control, i.e. when victims try to leave them, the abuse gets worse. Women are at very high risk when they try to leave.

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