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Abuse and getting help

If you or some you know is experiencing abuse or has in the past there is help available.

You're not alone.

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Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse and coercive control is a persistent and deliberate pattern of behaviour by an abuser over a prolonged period of time designed to achieve obedience and create fear.

It may include coercion, threats, stalking, intimidation, isolation, degradation and control. It may also include physical and/or sexual violence.

Domestic abuse and coercive control are all about making a persons world smaller – trapping them, restricting them independence and freedom.

A controlling partner may shut out their friends and family, control their movements, micro-manage what she eats or wears, restrict their access to money – all the time chipping away at their confidence and destroying their self-respect.

It is not their imagination.

It is not their fault. It is not acceptable.

Getting help

If you’re trying to decide whether to stay or leave, you may be feeling confused, uncertain, frightened, and torn. Maybe you’re still hoping that your situation will change or you’re afraid of how your partner will react if he discovers that you’re trying to leave. One moment, you may desperately want to get away, and the next, you may want to hang on to the relationship. Maybe you even blame yourself for the abuse or feel weak and embarrassed because you’ve stuck around in spite of it. Don’t be trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame. The only thing that matters is your safety.

If you are being abused, remember:

  • You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated.

  • You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.

  • You deserve to be treated with respect.

  • You deserve a safe and happy life.

  • Your children deserve a safe and happy life.

  • You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.

There are supports available to help keep you safe. Your GP can help by referring you to appropriate supports and services in your local area.

If you are in immediate danger, contact the Gardaí or call 999. You can also contact the Women’s Aid national helpline on 1800 341 900.

Your local Citizens Information Centre can give you advice on your rights. They will also tell you about the supports and services available in your local area.

Sexual assault or rape

If you need to talk to someone in confidence about sexual assault or rape, the Rape Crisis Centre (1800 77 88 88) can help.

Domestic violence

Women’s Aid can help you if you are experiencing domestic violence. They give advice on how you can help yourself and others. You can also contact them 24 hours-a-day on 1800 341 900.

Men's Aid Ireland is a service for men who are experiencing domestic violence. You can call them on 01 554 3811or email hello@mensaid.ie.

Child Abuse

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A child may be subjected to one or more forms of abuse at any given time. Abuse and neglect can occur within the family, in the community or in an institutional setting.  The abuser may be someone known to the child or a stranger, and can be an adult, or another child.  In a situation where abuse is alleged to have been carried out by another child, you should consider it a child welfare and protection issue for both children and you should follow child protection procedures for both the victim and the alleged abuser.   The important factor in deciding whether the behaviour is abuse or neglect is the impact of that behaviour on the child rather than the intention of the parent/carer.

Signs of Child Abuse

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A child may be subjected to one or more forms of abuse at any given time. Abuse and neglect can occur within the family, in the community or in an institutional setting.  The abuser may be someone known to the child or a stranger, and can be an adult, or another child.  In a situation where abuse is alleged to have been carried out by another child, you should consider it a child welfare and protection issue for both children and you should follow child protection procedures for both the victim and the alleged abuser.   The important factor in deciding whether the behaviour is abuse or neglect is the impact of that behaviour on the child rather than the intention of the parent/carer.

Getting help for Child abuse

Children and young people

Childline is a confidential support service for children and young people. They take calls about a wide range of difficulties, including abuse.

You can contact them 24 hours-a-day on 1800 66 66 66. You can also text 'Talk' to 50101.

You can also contact tusla https://www.tusla.ie/services/child-protection-welfare/definitions-of-child-abuse/

Harassment

It can take many forms such as:

  • rude gestures

  • touching

  • following or watching

  • damage to property and/or vehicles

  • name calling and/or taunting

  • phone calls and voicemails

  • notes and/or letters

  • emails and/or text messages

  • rubbish being thrown on your property

  • loud noise or music from neighbours

  • Tweets, Facebook comments, YouTube videos; and other online posts

If you are a victim of harassment you may feel:

  • That nobody is taking it seriously, and that something terrible will have to happen before you are really believed

  • That you have no option but to move out of your neighbourhood or leave your workplace

  • Afraid to answer your phone or look at your text messages

  • Afraid to go away from your home in case damage is done while you are away

  • Anxious any time you leave your home

  • Worried about the effects on your children

  • Afraid that if you report each incident the Police will think you are a nuisance or will not believe you

  • Concerned that if you report the harassment, the situation may get worse.

Harassment is an unwanted pattern of behaviour that can leave you feeling intimidated, scared, annoyed and/or humiliated.

What you can do if you're being harassed 

  • Keep a written record of every incident. Write down the time and place of the incident, with as much detail as possible, and note down any person who saw what happened and who may be a witness in any criminal proceedings.

  • Report the crime to the Gardaí. Harassment is a crime. It is important that you report it and that you make a statement to the Gardaí about what is happening. Each incident should be reported to the Gardaí. If an incident is serious, it should be reported immediately to the Gardaí.

  • Consider mediation. Especially if it is harassment in your neighbourhood, this non-confrontational approach may provide the best outcome for you. Mediation is a confidential service that offers an alternative method for parties involved in a dispute to resolve their issues and reach an agreement which is acceptable to both sides.

  • However, mediation is not always possible or advisable in some situations. If you think mediation might be an option for your situation, please contact the Crime Victims Helpline for more information.

  • Keep all texts, voicemails, emails or screenshots of social media comments, as they will be useful in any investigation that may take place.

  • Contact your telephone service provider for advice if harassment is by telephone. Each provider has a policy on dealing with the issue.  It may be possible to block unwanted inbound communications.

  • If the harassment is via social media, you can report it to the relevant social media organisation. It is possible to block a person from making contact with you on most social media sites.

  • Consider installing a camera device on your property to provide evidence of harassment, and as a deterrent. Low cost cameras are now available.

  • Avoid being drawn into a dispute. Do not shout back or retaliate.

  • If you do, it is less likely that a case will succeed against the person who is harassing you.

  • If the harassment is happening in a public authority housing area, ensure that you report it to the County or City Council.

  • If the harassment is taking place in your workplace you should report it to your employer.

  • Talk about your feelings with someone you can trust – a family member, a friend, a colleague. Going through this experience is very difficult and it is important to have support.

  • Enquire about safety measures that can be taken to prevent harassment. You can seek advice from a Garda Crime Prevention Officer. Your local Garda station can supply you with contact details.

For more information on what you can do, or if you would like to discuss your experience as a victim of harassment, you can contact the Crime Victims Helpline for free at 116 006.

More information

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