Domestic abuse

If you are living in an abusive relationship and are worried about your safety and the safety of your child, help is available. All victims of domestic abuse, men and women, have the right to be safe in their own home and are entitled to the same help.

About domestic violence

Domestic violence can include physical abuse and verbal threats. It can also include more subtle attacks, such as:

  • constant breaking of trust
  • isolation
  • mind games
  • harassment

Domestic violence is treated very seriously by the police and the courts.

It can affect partners in all types of relationships and can also involve violence between parents and children. If you are in an abusive relationship there are three important steps you can take:

  • recognise that it is happening to you
  • accept that you are not to blame
  • get help and support

If you need urgent help

If you are being threatened with violence or attacked, or frightened this is going to happen, call the police on 999 immediately. 

You can also contact the 24-hour domestic and sexual violence helpline on:

Support available

The Police Service for Northern Ireland has domestic violence officers, who can give you specialist advice and support. Phone 101 and ask to speak to a local domestic violence officer.

There are other people and organisations you can turn to if you are a victim of domestic violence. These can include your doctor, local support groups and charities.

Additionally, you may wish to tell a relative, friend or neighbour about your concerns and ask them to help you take action.

Find useful contacts for organisations that can offer help and support

Help from the courts

You can apply to a court for protective civil orders. These are called non-molestation orders and occupation orders:

  • a non molestation order will protect you from threats and/ or actual violence and abuse
  • an occupation order will remove your abuser for your home, allowing you to stay there

If you don't have a solicitor, you can search for a solicitor near you on the Law Society of Northern Ireland website.

Helping yourself and your child

If you're, or your child is, being subjected to either physical or emotional abuse at home, you should seek help as soon as possible.

Your abuser may threaten you by saying that if you leave or tell anyone about the violence, your child will be taken away from you. Social Services will not take your child away from you for this reason.

If you fear your partner will abduct the child, get advice as soon as possible. Your local Women's Aid group, Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor can advise you on how to protect your child and how contact between your child and a violent partner can be restricted or supervised.

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