Advice for victims - if you are living with an abuser


If you are living with an abuser:

  • Have a support system in place - family, friends and people like your doctor or someone at your child’s school - who can help you. Your abuser may try to keep you isolated from these people.

  • Talk to family, friends and neighbours you can trust.  Ask them to call the police if they see or hear an incident occurring.  Have a prearranged keyword or signal, which you can use on the phone to let them know you are in danger and need help. If the worst happens and your partner attacks you, make as much noise as possible to alert others.

  • Encourage your children to keep themselves safe by finding a place to hide in the house or running to a neighbour’s house.  Research from Refuge has shown there is a significant risk of young children developing emotional and behavioural problems if they have been exposed to violence or trauma.

  • In some cases, children aged under five, have tried to intervene during violent incidents, putting themselves at greater risk of being hurt. Teach your children how it is not safe for them to try to help directly and that they should take themselves away from danger as quickly as possible. Also make sure they know how to call the police.

  • Write down contact details for friends, family or anyone you trust and keep the numbers in a safe place.  Plan how to get to a phone from which your call cannot be traced by your abuser. For example, use a payphone to avoid the number showing on your bill.