Domestic violence (or domestic abuse) affects more people than we realise and includes not just physical, psychological and sexual abuse, but also economic abuse, digital abuse and coercive control. This can happen to anyone in a relationship, or between family members.
If you or someone you know are at risk, you can reach out to one of these national or local support services, including the police and refuges.
Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline (nationaldahelpline.org.uk): 0808 2000 247 (24 hours, every day)
Berkshire Women's Aid (BWA) (berkshirewomensaid.org.uk) (Reading, Bracknell, West Berkshire): 0808 801 0882 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DASS, Wokingham - Cranstoun (Wokingham): 0118 402 1921, calls answered 9am – 5pm weekdays with an out of hours emergency service in place.
DASH (thedashcharity.org.uk) (East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire): 01753 549 865, Monday-Friday, 9.30 – 4.00 pm
Slough | Hestia (Slough) emergency refuge: 01753 477 352
Bright Sky app | Hestia the app gives free information and a directory of specialist support, (available in English, Urdu, Punjabi, Polish & Welsh), as well as an ‘am I at risk’ questionnaire, all while being disguised as a weather app to keep you safe.
Aurora New Dawn (Stalking service Thames Valley wide), call 02394 216 816
Support for specific groups
All of the Domestic Abuse support services will help anyone affected, but the following services are tailored to support specific groups:
Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – Please call 01823 334244 to speak to us confidentially - (mankind.org.uk) Mankind Initiative support male victims, Tel 01823 334 244, Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm
Support You | Your LGBT+ Resource for the Thames Valley Provide specialist support and resources for LGBTQ+ people in the Thames Valley, including domestic abuse support, Call 0118 321 9111, Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm
Galop - the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop is a LGBT+ anti abuse charity, including domestic abuse. Call 0800 999 5428, Mon-Fri, 10am-5 pm & Wed, Thurs, 10am-8pm
Karma Nirvana supports those affected by Honour based abuse and Forced Marriage (male and female), Tel 0800 5999 247, Mon-Friday, 9-5 pm
Action on Elder Abuse (thenationalcareline.org) information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse, Tel 0800 0699 784, Mon-Friday, 9am-5pm
Home page - Cavell (cavellnursestrust.org) Cavell supports nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants experiencing financial hardship for many reasons, including domestic abuse. They offer debt advice, financial support and emotional support. See the help available from Cavell or call 01527 595 999.
Help For Domestic Violence Perpetrators | Respect Phoneline UK provides help for domestic violence perpetrators, Tel 0808 8024040, Mon-Friday, 9am – 8pm.
FLAG DV offers one free appointment with a family law solicitor, to victims of domestic abuse in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire.
Signs to look out for in colleagues
It can be hard disclosing abuse and studies have shown those in abusive relationships actually do want to be asked if they are ok. If we see some of the signs listed below in our work colleagues we shouldn't be afraid to ask them if they are OK, or if they need to talk:
Changes in the quality of their work for no apparent reason
Changes in behaviour, problems concentrating, withdrawing, distracted or anxious and depressed
Arriving late or leaving early or arriving early and leaving late with no explanation
Increased sickness/absenteeism -Receiving frequent calls/ messages from partner during work time
Clothing that may be hiding injuries
This list is not exhaustive….
By sensitively asking if they are okay, you’re not going to make things worse.
If your colleague does disclose they are experiencing abuse: Listen, believe and suggest they speak to a specialist domestic abuse service, which you can find on this page. You don't have to sort it all out or tell them what to do. Listening without judgment can be really helpful.