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Supporting People Who Want To Walk Away

14 April 2016
Smiling woman

For two and a half years, listeners of The Archers have followed closely as the domestic abuse storyline surrounding characters Helen and Rob unfolded. Last week the story culminated with Helen stabbing her husband following serious goading and threats as she prepared to walk away from the relationship.

As we discussed in our recent blog, the story has divided listeners of the show and gained national press coverage, helping to raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic abuse. There were some listeners who felt the storyline went too far, whilst others praised the writing and acting in the show. Whatever your opinion, what it did successfully was let women in Helen’s position know that help is available. 

It is often suggested that people in abusive relationships should just “walk away”. The truth is that the point of leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous - as The Archers storyline demonstrated. Having told her husband she was leaving him, Rob forced a knife into her hand and told her to stab herself because “it’s the only way I am ever letting you go”.

As an experienced independent domestic abuse charity, we work with a range of agencies to provide FREE help to people wanting to safely escape from an abusive relationship. This support can take several forms, including:

  • 24 Hour Helpline: If you phone our free and confidential helpline, one of our specialist team can offer the help and support you require. For those in immediate danger, we can put you in touch with our specialist services or external agencies and organise sanctuary at a refuge.
  • 5 Norfolk Refuges: We have secure refuges at various locations across Norfolk for women and children. Where possible we always try to find overnight accommodation on the same day. Once in our refuge we can offer a range of support to help you plan your future away from danger.
  • Specialist Male Victim Support: We have a specialist service for men who are experiencing domestic abuse, with trained staff on hand to provide support via our 24 hour helpline.
  • Community Based Services: We can also support people leaving abusive situations through our community based services and drop in sessions. Our team will support you by making sure you have key documents, safe routes and telephone contacts.
  • Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) Service: If you are at high risk of harm, we will give you an advocacy worker to provide one-to-one advice and support. They will be a single point of contact and can help you in a range of ways including assessing your safety and security, providing support whilst dealing with the authorities and keep you informed of the progress of your case as it goes through the Criminal Justice System.
  • Domestic Abuse Risk Assessments: This checklist of risk factors is used by both Leeway and other organisations, including the police and health professionals. It allows us to identify and assess a person’s risk and direct them to the support they need.
  • Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Case Conference (MARAC): By working with local organisations including the police, health professionals, child protection and housing practitioners, we can make sure that those at the highest risk of abuse get the relevant help and support they need and are never overlooked.

If you are intending to leave an abusive relationship, we advise that you do not discuss this with the abuser as doing so can often cause the abuse to escalate. For support with leaving, contact our 24 hour helpline on 0300 561 0077 for free and confidential advice. If you feel you are in immediate danger, always dial 999.