- 1 Abuse…There’s No Excuse
- 2 What Is Domestic Abuse?
- 3 Who Can You Speak To?
- 4 What We Know
Abuse…There’s No Excuse
The only person responsible for abuse is the person who is abusing. Nobody asks or wants to be abused.
We all deserve respect.
We all deserve respect and we should all have respect for ourselves. Sometimes people we care about can treat us badly and this can make it difficult to take care of ourselves.
Respecting yourself means:
- not being forced or persuaded to do something you don’t want to
- having relationships with people who show you respect
- taking care of yourself
- asking for support when you think you need it
- telling people what it is you need to feel safe and happy
- having control over our own lives and bodies
Respect for others
Everyone should have respect and therefore we all have a responsibility to show respect for others.
To do this we should:
- listen to and try to understand other people’s concerns and worries
- never try to force someone to do something they do not feel comfortable doing
- never try to hurt someone physically, emotionally or sexually
- understand that sometimes people like to have some time to themselves or with other friends
- remember that everyone is different
Respect in Relationships
Only when we have respect for ourselves and others can we be sure that we can have respectful relationships. We have lots of different relationships in our lives and these can include: friends, family, girlfriends/boyfriends.
We all deserve respect in relationships and this means:
- feeling safe
- feeling cared for
- being able to do things we enjoy
- not feeling threatened or being hurt
- having the information we need to make decisions about our own lives
- people listening when we say “no”
- being able to ask for help and support when we need it
Sometimes the very people we want to treat us with respect can be the people who are hurting us. It is always good to have someone you can speak to about things that worry us, but sometimes, for different reasons, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can help or understand what you are feeling.
Reproduced from the ‘Think Respect’ leaflet with kind permission from The Women’s Support Project, 31 Stockwell St, Glasgow, G1 4RZ. Scottish charity No. SCO21846
What Is Domestic Abuse?
When an adult deliberately hurts or frightens their partner or ex-partner it’s called domestic abuse. It can be physical harm, such as hitting, or emotional harm, like saying cruel things. Unfortunately many women experience domestic abuse and it can also affect their children.
Children can be affected indirectly – they may see or hear their parent being abused.
Children can also be affected directly – they may be abused by their parent or their parent’s partner.
If you are living, or have lived, with domestic abuse in your life, you are not to blame and you are not alone. Perhaps as many as 1 in 3 children and young people in Scotland have experienced it too.
Please don’t suffer in silence. Think about sharing your problem – talking helps.
Here’s what some young people have said:
Everything is bad but when you get used to it you just think ‘oh no I am coming home to the same old stuff all the time fighting etc
If you struggle then just get a friend or even a worker to help you, tell the person how you feel
When my mum made my dad’s dinner if he didn’t like it he would sometimes smash the plate off the wall.
My dad abused my mum it was domestic abuse and it wasn’t nice so after a while I couldn’t find my courage and he used to hit me. I was afraid to speak but I got given my own worker.
When I got in touch with Women’s Aid I got my courage back. I could say how I felt. I didn’t have to keep things in anymore because my worker was always there to help me.
Who Can You Speak To?
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse and needs support it might be a good idea to tell someone you like and trust this could be a teacher, a support worker or a friend’s mum.
The abuser may warn you, or your mum may ask you, not to tell others what is happening in your home. Remember, it’s your right to tell someone.
Sometimes, to keep you safe, information might be shared, but you should know about this first.
Adults have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe.
If domestic abuse is happening to a friend you could offer to help them speak to someone.
South Ayrshire Women’s Aid Children and Young People’s Support Service
South Ayrshire Women’s Aid Children and Young People’s Support Service was established in August 2006. We deliver one to one support to boys and girls aged 0-18 with experience of Domestic Abuse. We deliver Therapeutic Group work as well as a telephone, text and email service. These services are offered to Children & Young People on an Outreach basis for those whose mothers are not known to South Ayrshire Women’s Aid as well as for children living in Refuge with their mum or who have Followed On from Refuge.
The aim of our direct work is to provide a safe place which allows Children & Young People to talk about their feelings. We strive to validate the opinion of Children & Young People during support and enable them to make sense of their experiences of abuse with the overaching principle that they gain an understanding that they are not alone and never to blame.
Using knowledge gained since our Children & Young People’s Service started and from listening to and continually involving CYP in evaluation, our aim is to continue to raise awareness of, offer and promote a specialist and needs led service across South Ayrshire to all Children & Young People experiencing Domestic Abuse.
South Ayrshire Women’s Aid work in partnership with other agencies, maximising the support and service available to children and young people.
What can our Children & Young Persons (CYP) Support Service offer?
- listen to you.
- talk to you on your own.
- talk to you in a group with children or young people your own age who have similar experiences, but only if you want to. You choose.
- help you make sense of your experiences.
- support you to validate your experiences and work on your self esteem and confidence
- support you to look at things like equality, respect and misuse of power.
- help you develop ‘keeping safe’ strategies for the future.
- tell you about your rights.
- offer you a choice of how much support you want.
A Safe Place to Stay – The Willows
The Willows is a safe place, free from abuse, where you and your mum can stay for a few days or perhaps much longer. You can stay here with your mum until you find your own home – the Women’s Aid Workers will help your mum do this.
We also have flats and houses with gardens. There might be other families in The Willows at the same time as you, but you and your family will have a room of your own.
There are workers at the refuge who are especially for CYP. This doesn’t mean they won’t talk to your mum, but just that you are the most important to them. You can talk to them and they will listen and support you.
What We Know
We have supported thousands of children and young people (CYP) who have experienced domestic abuse and we understand the problems they face:
- Most CYP are in the same or next room when domestic abuse is happening and they often risk their own safety to try and protect their mum from the abuser.
- Abusive men often use threats to harm family members or to have CYP taken into care as a way of controlling their partner.
- CYP are often told by the abuser that the abuse happens because of them and so they feel guilty because they think the violence is their fault.
- Some CYP who have experienced domestic abuse worry they will go on to become abusers, but if you have been abused it does not mean you will do this.
We understand that living with domestic abuse can affect you in lots of different ways:
- You might be tired all the time because you are not getting enough sleep.
- You might often be late for school because of this or because your mum is also tired.
- You might have to miss school sometimes because you or your mum have been hurt or because someone is threatening to hurt you.
- You might decide not to go to school because you want to stay at home to look after your mum or brothers and sisters, or to try to protect them from being hurt.
- You might be unable to concentrate at school because you’re anxious.
- You might feel confused, ashamed, afraid, lonely and angry or really down and worthless.
- You might also have feelings of loss, maybe for a pet or belongings or other things, because of change.
- You might have other difficulties that affect your life.