Experiencing Domestic Violence and Abuse
I used to manage a psychotherapy and counselling service for survivors of domestic violence in Brighton and Hove and also worked as domestic violence co-ordinator for Devon County Council. I am aware that in Brighton and Hove alone there are more than 10 incidents of domestic abuse reported every day and Brighton & Hove Police respond to over 4,000 calls a year. We also know that only 20% of all incidents are reported.
Domestic violence has an enormous impact on mental health. There is no way that the experience of verbal, emotional, sexual or physical abuse is going to leave anyone untouched. The inevitable effects on mental health are however often used to further abuse or intimidate. “You are not fit to look after the children”, “you are mad”, ‘nobody would believe you’ …. etc.
It is important to remember that you are entitled to help and support and that you have the right to be treated with respect and be listened to without judgement. Everyone who has been subject to abuse needs emotional support. How and where that best comes from may vary according to your personal situation.
Counselling and Psychotherapy will be helpful once issues about physical safety are no longer a concern. It is less helpful to start opening up to the emotional impact of an abusive situation whilst the situation is still ongoing. In that case it may be more appropriate to get outreach support from local organisations like Rise UK or Women’s Aid.
If the experience of domestic violence is no longer ongoing, Counselling and Psychotherapy can help you to overcome the trauma that you may have experienced, support you in re-gaining control of your life and empower you to live the life that is satisfying to you.
Counselling and Psychotherapy can also help to understand healthy relationships and to re-build your self-esteem so that you are prepared for potential future relationships.
I discuss some of the issues further in my blog - Suffragettes- do they still matter?
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