South Oxfordshire Citizens Advice is raising awareness of specialist helplines people can call if they suspect that someone they know is in an abusive relationship.
Although friends and family can provide a lifeline by encouraging victims to seek specialist help, Citizens Advice say they currently face difficulties in helping victims this way because most people in Britain do not feel equipped to help people who are suffering from domestic abuse.
Surveys also reveal that more than one in three people who have personally experienced abuse didn’t tell anyone else. Victims are often too afraid or isolated to talk to others about their problem.
Citizens Advice staff and volunteers are trained and supported to identify instances of domestic abuse with a simple but sensitive approach during face-to-face advice. The staff and volunteers are then able to provide support and advice to those who are experiencing, or have experienced, any kind of domestic abuse.
People who want to support victims of abuse need to know the steps they can take and where they can get specialist help. Citizens Advice is joining the national “Talk About Abuse” campaign so we can help ordinary people to know how to recognise abuse, talk about it safely and enable victims to make the right decisions for themselves.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, or you are concerned that someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, you can seek help by calling confidential freephone helplines. You can also get help and support from your nearest Citizens Advice, or call Adviceline on 03 444 111 444.
● If the victim is a woman, you can get help from the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership by Refuge and Women’s Aid)
● If the victim is a man, you can get help from the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327
● If the victim is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can get specialised help from Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428
● If you live in Wales you can call the bilingual Live Fear Free national helpline on 0808 80 10 800