People who have experienced domestic violence often describe feelings of hopelessness, isolation and of being trapped, which is why it’s so important to realise that there is help and support available regardless of your situation.
Victims are often hesitant to come forward and seek support as they don’t want to be stereotyped, but as more funding is being dedicated to the identification and prevention of domestic violence the stereotypes are being broken down.
Education around the issue has improved and it’s now widely understood that domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, income, class, or the presence of drugs and alcohol.
If you are suffering as a result of current or past domestic violence you may feel emotionally and physically exhausted, so recovery can take some time. However, there are steps you can take to aid your healing and rebuild your life.
Reaching out to friends, family or professional domestic violence counsellors can be scary, but having support at times when you are vulnerable is invaluable. Talking through a bad day with a friend can reduce feelings of isolation and contacting one of the national support agencies can be a useful way of determining your rights and getting answers or information about domestic violence.
If you have moved house you may want to check the quality of your locks and look at home-security options such as an alarm. If you are living in the same house, it may be wise to change the locks and consider getting a personal attack alarm that you can wear around your neck.
Additionally, you can apply to the court for a Domestic Violence Order if you feel threatened or request an Emergency Protection Order from your local police station outside court hours.
Addressing any concerns you have about your personal safety in a practical way can help you to feel more in control of your situation and, over time, help to rebuild your feelings of being secure and safe in your home.
Your Personal Action Plan
Start to think about what you might need in order to get on top of things and rebuild your confidence and then create a written support and recovery plan that you can use when you are struggling. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a few lines on a sheet of paper will give you something solid to consult during your recovery.
You may want to write down the contact details of people you will commit to speaking to when you feel low, as well as an inspirational or encouraging quote or passage you can refer to when you need strength, how you will combat any desires to return to an abusive situation, what things you can do to help rebuild your confidence and anything else that might be useful to you.
Be Kind to Yourself
Allow yourself time to recover and try to avoid comparing yourself to others or setting yourself goals about when you should feel like your old self. Recovery is a slow and deeply personal process which will have ups and downs, so reward yourself for any small steps forward and allow yourself setbacks as part of the journey.
If possible, do something you enjoy every day such as taking a long bath, chatting to a friend or reading a book and plan something special once a week or month such as going shopping or having a manicure.
Written on behalf of Hibbert’s who are family solicitors near Manchester offering advice and guidance for a successful resolution.