Every third woman in the world is subjected to physical, sexual, psychological, economic violence from loved ones. They are mocked not by strangers but by close people – husbands, fathers, sons, brothers. Only a third of women affected seek help. Some women are so intimidated that they are afraid to go to the police, others are ashamed. And often a woman simply does not believe that anyone can help her.
The problem is aggravated by the fact that many countries have not yet adopted a law on the prevention of domestic violence. Even after contacting the police, a woman does not become more protected from an aggressor. The vast majority of offenses simply end with a fine (which is often paid from the general family budget). In order to receive a protective order (prohibiting the aggressor from any contact with a victim of violence), you need to go through a whole procedure, and it can be obtained not in every case (for example, if the spouses are divorced and no longer live together, and the violence continues). The courts set the victims up for reconciliation, psychologists and other specialists often try to “save” the family, corrective work with the aggressors is carried out only in a few countries.
Every second woman who calls the shelter for help thinks that she has no way to save herself and her children from violence.
Find a Shelter: Domestic Violence Crisis Centers
Crisis centers for helping women and children is a universal place where women with children who find themselves in difficult life situations can get help. They help to psychologically rehabilitate after violence, to overcome family crises, family conflicts, to get asylum.
Often women who do not suspect that they are already being subjected to psychological violence contact psychologists at a crisis center. In this case, it is important to focus her attention on the fact that she is already in a destructive relationship.
Psychologists of the crisis center diagnose each situation in order to determine how difficult it is and what resources women already have: for example, whether she can turn to loved ones for help or change jobs, how she relates to herself and the situation in which she finds herself. After diagnosis, psychologists individually deal with each woman in order to restore her psycho-emotional state, increase self-esteem and reduce anxiety.
Crisis centers operate on request, which allows working not only with women, children, but also with men. Consultation and assistance is possible both personally and by phone, because not only a woman, but also any modern man can experience certain difficult moments in life and need professional help from specialists. In the process of psychological work, men who are prone to manifestation of violence master the skills of self-regulation, techniques of conflict-free communication. Of course, men who seek help should adequately assess the situation and their condition and express a desire to change and save the family.
Legal aid for women
Requests for legal assistance in a shelter are most often related to how to resolve a difficult situation and organize life afterwards. Lawyers provide consultations on various issues:
- help during the divorce proceedings;
- deal with housing issues;
- assist in the registration of benefits for the maintenance of minor children;
- talk about the legal aspects of the maintenance and education of children;
- assist in employment;
- solve individual problems in the legal field.
Often women who have suffered from domestic violence are not ready to initiate a criminal case: they have neither moral nor physical strength due to psychological trauma. Legal assistance, which is an integral part of the complex work of the center’s specialists, is aimed at assisting in socialization, establishing social ties with relatives, finding rented accommodation, resolving issues of reconciliation of the parties.
Rehabilitation and consultation of women
Crisis center specialists have developed and are implementing more than 20 social programs for the comprehensive rehabilitation of women and children who have experienced domestic violence, helping women to restore psychological and physical health, improve emotional well-being, reduce anxiety levels and increase self-esteem.
Social rehabilitation is carried out both individually and in a group. Remedial family activities help rebuild parent-child relationships and overcome difficulties in social adjustment, for example, if:
- the mother and child have moved to another place;
- it is difficult for the mother to find a job or she has lost it;
- it is necessary to transfer the child to home schooling;
- you need to register a disability for yourself or your child.
More than 2,000 women and children undergo rehabilitation courses every year.
Where to go and how to protect yourself
If a woman is already in a destructive relationship and is subjected to psychophysical violence, she needs to seek help.
The first step is to call one of the crisis center helplines.
The shelter’s specialists will help the woman draw up a safe escape plan from the aggressor, based on her situation: does she have friends, close relatives, children, how old is she. The most important thing is not to speak defiantly about your departure to the aggressor, so as not to provoke an even greater conflict.
If a partner inflicted bodily harm to a woman of any severity (dissection of the skin, fractures, hematomas), she needs to:
- contact the police;
- document beatings and injuries;
- find a shelter (crisis center hospital) or another safe place (acquaintances) to isolate herself from the aggressor.
The center’s specialists will provide the necessary help and support, but the woman will have to do serious inner work on herself in order to overcome traumas and resentments, find the strength to live on and not be afraid to start a new relationship.
Emergency phone numbers
- Domestic Violence Assist: 0800 195 8699
- National Centre for Domestic Violence: 0800 970 2070
- Women’s Aid Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
- National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
- Victim Support: 0808 1689 111