Abuse in a relationship could happen to anyone and it is NEVER OK. It can happen to women and to men.
Abuse in a relationship could be:
- Emotional (such as putting someone down a lot, making them feel stupid or trying to control them)
- Physical (such as hitting or kicking someone)
- Sexual (such as forcing someone to do something sexual that they don’t want to do)
- Verbal (such as frequently calling someone names that will hurt them or making threats).
What should I do?
If you think you are being abused or think someone else is in an abusive environment tell someone you know and trust such as a teacher, youth worker, social worker or go to Spectrum in Wigan (call 01942 483118 and ask to make an appointment).
If you tell someone and they do not help you, tell someone else.
- If you would rather talk to someone you don’t know call Childline on 0800 11 11
- If you feel in immediate danger, always call 999. You don’t need credit on your phone to call 999.
Am I in an abusive relationship?
It can sometimes be difficult to know if you are in an abusive relationship as the abuse could develop gradually and the person abusing you may sometimes be very nice to you, may be very apologetic about it sometimes or may make excuses for their behaviour.
Emotional abuse can be especially confusing as someone who is emotionally abusive will probably be very manipulative and may try to explain their behaviour by saying they are doing it because they care about you.
If you haven’t had many relationships before it can sometimes be hard to know what is normal and what isn’t.
The following things are signs that you could be in an abusive relationship:
- Your boyfriend/girlfriend might try to force you to do things by hitting you
- They might call you names, threaten to spread rumours about you or send personal pictures of you to others against your will
- They might try to pressure you into having sex and might sometimes hurt you physically to make you have sex when you don’t want to
- They might try to control you by checking your phone or by sending you hundreds of texts a day to check what you are up to
- They might get angry if you want to spend time with your friends.
Is my friend in an abusive relationship?
Here are some of the warning signs of someone being abused:
- Might be apologetic and make excuses for their partner’s behaviour
- Gets nervous about talking when their partner is around
- Seems to be sick more often and miss lots of school or work
- Might try to hide bruises by wearing long sleeves and high necks even in summer
- Makes last minute excuses about why they can’t meet you
- Seems sad, lonely, withdrawn or fearful
- Might use drugs or alcohol to cope.
How to help your friend
It can be very difficult for someone to leave an abusive relationship as the abuser can be very controlling and your friend may believe that they love them. You need to support your friend and be there for them but try to encourage them to talk to a professional (such as a teacher or youth worker).
Are you being abusive?
If you’re a young person who is being violent or abusive towards someone, there are people who can help you too. A professional may be able to help you understand why you are behaving in this way and may be able to help you to change your behaviour if you want to.
If you are living in an abusive environment
Even if you are not the person violence or abuse is directed at, just being in an abusive environment can be very difficult to cope with.
Your home should be a place where you feel safe.
There are lots of services across Wigan Borough to help you if you are living in a violent or abusive situation. They are not publicised in order to protect people who are already using these services and to keep the addresses confidential. Staff working in these services are ready to help and are used to working with people living in difficult situations. They will always support you with sensitivity and care.
Professionals across Wigan (teachers, youth workers, health visitors, social workers etc.) are updated on these services and should be able to help you to find a service to help you.
Make a safety plan
If you are worried that someone who lives with you or spends a lot of time in your home may become violent, it’s a good idea to plan for what you might do in that situation. You could:
- Leave copies of any important documents or any medications you might need with a friend
- Agree a ‘code word’ with a friend so that you could call them and let them know (without the violent person knowing) if you think a difficult situation might be on the way
- Plan your exit from your house in advance. If you’re in danger an automatic reaction could be to lock yourself in the bathroom. But this is not the best plan as these locks can be easily broken, the windows are usually frosted and very small and bathrooms are often in the most private parts of the house – not a good situation if you need to try and escape or get help quickly
- A better plan is to leave the house as quickly as possible if you think you are in danger, taking your phone with you and to call 999 or someone you trust as soon as you can
- It would be useful to always keep a phone charged up in case you need to make a call quickly
- You could work out where the nearest safe place to your house is (such as a friend’s house) in case you did need to leave quickly if you were in danger.