Anyone can experience domestic abuse and it isn’t always easy to spot; abusive relationships may not have any physical violence. Domestic abuse is about controlling someone in a way that could be physical, emotional, financial, psychological or sexual.
In 2015, coercive or controlling domestic abuse became a criminal offence carrying a five year prison sentence. This type of abuse can make a person dependent by isolating them from sources of support or by controlling their finances; it can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, monitoring of social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what someone wears.
There may be many barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. These might include lack of money or accommodation, difficulty finding out about the options available or fear of losing custody of the children. If you are worried about your own relationship or suspect that a family member, friend or work colleague is experiencing domestic violence, it may be difficult to know what to do.
· In an emergency, always call 999. If you would like to speak to the dedicated domestic abuse team at Essex police, call 101.
· Safer Places is an independent, local charity which provides a comprehensive range of services to adults and children affected by domestic abuse. Their phone line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 03301 025811 www.saferplaces.co.uk
· Uttlesford Citizens Advice can help with problems concerning benefits, housing, money, immigration and relationship issues.
· Visit www.uttlesfordfrontline.org.uk to find details of all local health and wellbeing services.