You are not alone!

Domestic violence is a form of abuse that can occur within any relationship, including with your partner or within your family. Domestic violence can happen to any woman at any time in her life. If you are in a violent relationship, is not your fault, no matter what you are told.

The violence can take the form of physical aggression, but may also be emotional, sexual and economic abuse. An abusive partner or family member does not have to be abusive all the time for it to be domestic violence.

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If any of these points apply to you, do not suffer alone and in silence. Ask for help!

If you are thinking about exiting a violent relationship, you may be worried about how it might affect your legal status in the UK, your children (if you have any), where you will live, or how to make sure you are protected.

Latin American Women’s Aid is here to support you, without judgement, to make choices for a life without violence. We offer services in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

If you would like to learn more about the different forms domestic violence may take, below you can find more information and statements from other women that we have helped change their lives.

Physical – If someone is hurting you, or threatening to hurt you, a loved one or a pet, then this is physical abuse. You can contact LAWA or come to our free services to talk about what you are going through and what your options are. For more information about what physical abuse is, see What is physical abuse?

Emotional – This form of violence is often unrecognised and can be very hurtful. An abusive relationship can alter our perception. You can spend many years thinking you’re worthless but this is not correct. If your partner or a family member is: insulting you or teasing you in front of other people, keeping you isolated from family and friends, controlling what you do and where you go- then they are being emotionally violent. You can contact us and LAWA can support you to find out what your choices are. To find out more about emotional abuse, read What is emotional abuse?

Economic – Having money, and being able to make decisions about it, is one means of being independent. If someone is controlling your money, keeping you financially dependent, or making you ask for money unreasonably, then this is a form of violence and you can contact LAWA or come along to one of our free services to find out what your rights are in the UK.

One in four women will suffer from some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. If you come from an ethnic minority group you may find it much harder to leave an abusive relationship and stay for up to 40% longer than a white British women. Why? Because you might:

  • Be unfamiliar with your rights in the UK
  • Speak only limited or no English
  • Feel quite isolated from support
  • Be financially dependent on your partner/husband,
  • Think that you depend on your husband for your immigration status in the UK.

If any of these points apply to you, do not suffer alone and in silence. We are here for you. Our services are free, confidential and friendly. We can help you find out more about your rights and options, as well as offering emotional and practical support. You can:

mobile  call us on 0207 275 0321
mail_ru  email info@lawadv.org.uk
225-Speech-bubbles-chat-symbol  click on the Live Chat icon

What others have experienced

“He told me nobody would ever believe me and that if I ever contacted any organisation or the police, they would take away my children immediately and deport me. A friend gave me LAWA’s telephone number and I found the courage to call them. I am very grateful as they really believed in me. They made me understand that he used these threats merely to scare and control me and that they were not true.” (Julia, 39, Colombia)

“He told me that I cannot do anything without him in this country that I am not allowed to work, not allowed to claim any benefits and that one call from him to the police would be enough to get me deported. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I finally called LAWA and one of the immigration solicitors they work with told me that I actually have had a valid visa for some years and could have worked or claimed benefits and made myself independent from him long ago.” (Maria, 42, Brazil)

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse basically involves a person using physical force which causes, or could cause, harm. Some signs you may be in a physically abusive relationship include:

  • Feeling afraid of your partner all, or some of the time.
  • Avoiding certain topics because you’re afraid of making your partner angry.
  • Feeling like you can’t do anything right, or you are walking on eggshells around their anger and rages.
  • Believing that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated because it is your fault.
  • Feeling emotionally numb.

Types of physical abuse include:

  • Scratching or biting
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Slapping
  • Kicking
  • Choking or strangling
  • Throwing things
  • Forced feeding or denial of food
  • Use of weapons, or objects as weapons
  • Physical restraint (such as pinning against a wall, floor, bed etc)
  • Reckless driving

What is emotional abuse?

A woman in an emotionally abusive relationship may have low self-worth and independence. She may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without their partner she will have nothing.

Emotional abuse can feel equally as destructive and damaging as physical abuse and can do a terrible amount of damage to a person’s mental health. Often, physically abusive relationships also include aspects of emotional abuse as this is how power and control is maintained within the relationship. But emotional abuse can occur without physical violence.

Signs you are in an emotionally abusive relations include:

  • Feel like you’re not good enough
  • Are afraid of your partner leaving you
  • Are called names by your partner or they put you down
  • Are afraid, threatened or intimidated
  • Feel like you are going crazy, or feel confused about the truth

Types of emotional abuse include:

  • Verbal – yelling, insulting or swearing at someone
  • Rejection – pretending not to notice someone’s presence, conversation or value
  • Put downs – name calling, public embarrassment, calling someone stupid, blaming them for everything
  • Being afraid – causing someone to feel afraid, intimidated or threatened
  • Isolation – limiting freedom of movement, stopping someone from contacting other people (like friends or family)
  • Money – controlling someone’s money, withholding money, preventing someone from working, stealing or taking money
  • Bullying- purposely and repeatedly saying or doing hurtful things to someone.

Though physical violence is often seen as being more serious than emotional abuse, this is not the case. The scars of emotional abuse are real and long lasting. Emotional abuse can leave a person feeling depressed, anxious and even suicidal, as well as having a negative impact on self-esteem and confidence.

What can you do if you are experiencing emotional or physical abuse?

In an emergency always call 999 to speak to emergency services.

In all other circumstances, if you are experiencing any form of emotional, economic or physical violence, LAWA is here to support you make choices. Our free services offer emotional support and practical advice about benefits, accommodation, family law and many other issues.

mobile  call us on 0207 275 0321
mail_ru  email info@lawadv.org.uk
225-Speech-bubbles-chat-symbol  click on the circular Live Chat icon