“Abuse causes the loss of one’s self. It is the re-connection to and redefining of one’s self that takes some time to figure out” – Domestic violence survivor
Domestic abuse and gender based violence are a silent epidemic that can affect anyone. It is equally prevalent in both rural and urban Ireland and occurs in all social classes. Domestic and/or sexual violence is the threat of using physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse in relationships. Common examples of domestic/sexual violence is control over access of money, personal items, food, transport and telephone.
In the majority of cases of violence against women, the attacker is not a stranger. Violent attacks of this nature are rarely one-off occurrences and are likely to persist.
Such abuse affects people across our society. The majority of victims are women, however it is currently affecting a significant number of men too.
Domestic/Sexual violence has a severe and persistent affect on physical and mental health.
Action you can undertake to protect yourself if you’re experiencing domestic abuse:
It can be very difficult to get out of abusive relationships, so taking some kind of action to protect yourself can be a great help.
- Ask for help
You may feel you cannot talk to anyone about your situation, so opening up can be difficult. Many people who have been in abusive relationships found that opening up to someone has helped them to cope. There are also supportive services out there that can help if you feel trapped.
- Write a Safety Plan
A ‘Safety Plan’ can help you prepare for action if you ever need to leave the house in a hurry. If you feel you are in danger at any time, call you the police. They have a duty to help and protect you.
- Seek legal protection
You can take legal action to help protect yourself. The best option for many people is to apply for a safety order from the district court. This requires your partner to not threaten abuse towards you. If your partner breaks the safety order, the police can arrest them.