Do you fear your partner might be abusive towards you and your children? Have you realised that you are in an abusive relationship? Are you worried about someone you love being abused?
First, please remember that domestic abuse can happen to anyone. It is not your fault if your partner is abusive towards you. He is the one choosing to be violent.
If you are looking at this page using a computer/cellphone/tablet that your partner might access, make sure to delete your browser and search history. If you have the feeling your partner is monitoring your online activities, check out this page for more information.
Ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Is your partner excessively jealous and possessive?
- Is he charming one minute and abusive the next? Does he have sudden changes of mood – like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?
- Is he stopping you from seeing your family and friends? Do you feel isolated?
- Is he constantly criticizing you and putting you down in public?
- Does he embarrass you, often in front of family and friends, so that you are seen in a bad light?
- Does your partner play mind games and make you unsure of your own judgment?
- Does he tell you you’re useless and couldn’t cope without him?
- Does he control your money?
- Does he tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, what to think?
- Does he pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
- Are you starting to walk on eggshells to avoid making him angry?
- Does he monitor your movements? Or check up on you via your email, Facebook, Twitter or by looking at your text messages?
- Does he use anger and intimidation to frighten you and make you comply with his demands?
- Has your partner ever threatened you, or intimidated you by using violent language or smashing up the furniture?
- Are you forced to alter your behaviour because you are frightened of your partner’s reaction?
- Are you blamed for their behaviour e.g. they say you were “asking for it” or deserved the abuse?
Answering yes to any of these questions can indicate that you are experiencing abuse. However, no matter the result, if you feel unsafe in your home or with your partner, you should seek support.
There are many services out there, which you can turn to if you are seeking support.
If you are living in Europe, the easiest way to find help is to visit the WAVE website and to look at their service database, if you are unable to find a service in your area, don’t hesitate to get directly in touch with WAVE. If you are not living in Europe, try searching online for a domestic violence survivor service- remember to delete your search history.
Keep in mind that your feelings are the most important indicator for your safety. If you feel that your life is in danger, get in touch with a women’s support service. They will help you in a non-judgemental, completely confidential way.
If you have any questions about your local perpetrator programme, don’t hesitate to call them. They are professionals who are ready to answer your questions and to deal with your situation without any judgement. The workers will know which services to contact with your problems and will be able to answer any questions you might have about the programme, as well.
If you have already found a perpetrator programme your partner could attend, that’s great. If you haven’t, check out the map on our homepage or you can also search our programme database, which includes programmes outside of our membership.
Find your country and see if we there are any programmes in your country. If they are in your country, but not in your town, send them an e-mail or call to see if they know of services closer to home. They are used to being contacted about these things.
If we don’t have a member organisation in your country, send us an e-mail and we will ask around to find out if there is a programme suited to your needs in your country or area.
Please be aware that confronting your partner with his violent behaviour could make the situation dangerous for you. Your partner may react aggressively or violently to your suggestion. Before asking your partner to participate in a programme, you should consider calling the local service or even better the women’s support service to help you with the conversation. The workers of the domestic violence services can help you with strategies to stay safe.
A perpetrator programme will not magically turn your partner into a non-violent person. However, it offers him the chance to talk about his actions, reflect on them and try to come to terms with his abusive behaviour. The programme will support your partner in
- recognising and stopping his violent behaviours,
- establishing tools for a non-violent, respectful relationship,
- developing non-violent ways of communicating his frustrations, as well as,
- learning how to take responsibility for his actions and the harm they cause.
The programme should challenge your partner’s ways of thinking and behaving in a way, which enables him to change.
Beware that your partner might try to keep you from leaving him, using his participation in the perpetrator programme as leverage. Nevertheless, remember: You do not owe your partner a relationship because he is working on himself. The process to a less violent life benefits him and if he is trying to influence and pressure you, he is still being abusive.
A good perpetrator programme
- will not pressure you into staying with your partner.
- will be available to give you all the information you need to get support and feel safer.
- will not take your partner’s side
- will have your and your children’s safety at the centre of all its actions.
- will not pressure you into mediation or couple’s therapy.
- will be aware of manipulation and will recognize your partner’s lies
- will not tell you what to do – Beware: your partner might try and manipulate you by saying that the programme said you have to behave a certain way (e.g. stop asking him to help in the house)
- will not blame you for the violence you are experiencing.
- will contact you to hear your story and provide information about the programme
- Should provide some kind of evaluation of the programme and publish the results
- Should have policies of accountability and transparency on the PP