Women's Aid introduction
(Please note that the Survivor's Handbook in English is only available online and not as a hardcopy.)
Every day hundreds of thousands of women and children live with domestic violence. As many as one in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, and at least two women a week die as a result. Over 750,000 children witness domestic violence every year and desperately need support and protection. Thankfully many will seek help, information and support from Women's Aid and other domestic violence services across the UK. Last year nearly 42,000 women and children stayed in refuges in England and there were over a quarter of a million calls to the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge).
Women's Aid has over 30 years of experience working with women and children living with domestic abuse. Over the years we have provided women with help, support and information, and aimed to empower them to make informed choices and find appropriate routes to safety. Information has been key to this and we have provided this through helpline services, refuge and outreach leaflets and publications and, more recently, through our two websites for women and children. We know that many women and children, and their families and friends, increasingly use the internet to find out about domestic violence and to seek help. Online resource The Survivor's Handbook, brings together comprehensive help information in one place, is designed to increase women's and children's safety and sends out a clear message that they are not alone or to blame. Women's Aid is indebted to The Body Shop, which has generously provided funding for this much-needed resource.
The Survivor's Handbook has been written in an accessible and easy-to-read format. The handbook comprises short sections covering every aspect of seeking help and support. It covers understanding domestic violence and how to make yourself and your children safe, and guides you through the legal protection framework and explains the role of the legal profession and police. Since we first published this new resource, several sections of The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 have been implemented, resulting in some changes to legal protection, and to the enforcement of non-molestation orders in particular. We have recently updated The Survivor's Handbook to reflect these changes.
The Survivor's Handbook has been produced in a 'printer-friendly' format so you can print out and keep the key sections you may want to refer to. Remember to keep anything you print safe, away from your abuser. It's also important that you take care using this website if your abuser can also access the same PC or computer network. Please see The Survivor's Handbook section about keeping yourself safe to find out more. If you are visiting any other websites referenced in The Survivor's Handbook, please also take care to cover your tracks.
Women's Aid believes that everyone has a right to live in safety and have a future without fear. We hope that The Survivor's Handbook will help many more women and children living with domestic violence to seek help and a place of safety, and begin the long process of re-building their lives.
Nicola Harwin, CBE
Women's Aid Federation of England