Domestic & Sexual violence

What is domestic violence?

  • Domestic violence is abuse by your partner or family members.
  • If you don’t feel safe at home, you can get help. You dont have to put up with abuse. You have the right to be safe.
  • Domestic violence is about power.. It is never the victim’s fault!

If you are Deaf or disabled and lives in Waltham Forest or Newham and you are experiencing domestic violence, contact Stay Safe East:

T: 0208 519 7241        SMS text and voice: 07587 134 122

In an emergency, or if you are not in our area, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – you can contact them via Typetalk.

If you are in danger NOW, contact the police on 999 *(to register for SMS999, text ‘register’ to 999 and wait for instructions).

If you would like to see easy words and pictures about domestic violence, click here .

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Disabled women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-disabled women. disabled men may also be at more risk of domestic violence. Whatever you age, or what community you are from, or if you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender, it can happen – in all sorts of relationships.

Abusers can be your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, civil partner; or they could be your mum or dad, your sisters or brothers, or you children, or your cousins, your father-in-law or mother-in-law.

Stay Safe East also believes that abuse by carers of disabled people is domestic violence.

More about domestic violence

Domestic violence is also called domestic abuse. It can be:

  • Physical: punching, kicking, slapping, hair pulling, spitting, attempting to strangle or suffocate you, attacking you with objects or weapons
  • Emotional: telling you what to do, what to wear;  calling you names, blaming you;  buying presents and saying you owe them; checking your phone and your social media; cutting you off from friends and family
  • Sexual: rape, sexual assault, being made to have sex with others, not allowing you to heal after childbirth, refusing access to contraception or forcing you to continue with a pregnancy
  • Financial: controlling finances, restricting access to funds, checking how you spend your money, banning you from getting a job, making you work against your will, taking you money or bank cards
  • Forced marriage – making you marry against your wishes

Domestic violence and disability

For Deaf or disabled women (and some men), the experience of domestic abuse can be different from that of non-disabled women. The abuser may use your disability against you. Or they may use how people see you, or the barriers you face, to control your life.

These are some of the things Stay Safe East users have experienced. 

They may tell you that you are useless or ugly because you are disabled or Deaf.

They might tell you no one will believe you because you have got mental health issues or learning disabilities.

They may call you stupid because you don’t understand what’s been said.

They may control you because you can’t get out of the house without their help.

They may stop you seeing friends or family.

Your family may tell you you have to marry someone you dont like, because they say you are disabled and no one else will want you.

The abuser may take your benefits and spend the money on their own needs, not your disability needs.

The abuser may control all your communication with hearing people and speak for you.

They might deliberately do things, like making a lot of noise, putting very bright lights on or smoking that make your impairment worse.

They may stop your disability equipment – wheelchair, crutches, long cane, hearing aids, communication equipment. they may refuse to help you go to the toilet, or get dressed.

They may give you too much or too little medication to control you.

The abuser may pretend the bruises on your body are because of your medical condition, not the violence.

The abuser may help you to bed, thenmake you do sexual things you dont want to do.

They may stop you using services, for example from getting help with personal care or mental health issues, or visiting the hospital about your disability or health condition.

They may hurt you when they help you with eating or drinking, or they make give you too many pills to make you sleepy.

The abuser may tell you that social services will put you in a home, or you will lose your kids if you speak out.

Talk to Stay Safe East about what has happened to you…


And the official version…(in big words)

The Home Office says that domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. Family members could be defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents – whether directly or indirectly related, in-laws or step family.

Coercive control: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

  • Coercion: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.
  • Threats: these can include keeping the individual away from their children or family, blackmailing by threatening to report the person to social services or making a malicious complaint or making them then believe that if they do not confirm they will be beaten / physically hurt.
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