01 May 2012
Dear Jude, my sister is stuck in an abusive relationship and I fear for her safety and the safety of her son (12 months). How can I get help for them?
Thank you for writing in and for caring so much about your sister.
A couple of things, first and foremost please just keep loving her, supporting her, encouraging her and caring about her and let her know you are there for her no matter what. Try not to judge, tell her what she should or shouldn't do, just simply be there.
I'm not sure from your letter if your sister is wanting to leave and is stuck and doesn't know how or if she wants to stay and try and work things out. Regardless which it is, there are some things that can be done and I would like to suggest you and her, together, create a safety plan. This is a plan to help keep your sister safe if things get out of hand and she finds herself and her baby in any danger. A plan that gives her a little peace of mind just knowing that there are things in place like having your number or someone else's who she trusts on speed dial, that she can ring at any time of the day or night and either let you know she needs you or if she can't say that she needs help (because he may be there listening or threatening her) she says a phrase that you and her have previously arranged and you know instantly that she is in trouble and needs you. She has a spare set of car keys put away in a secret safe place along with some money, her and her son's important documents and anything else she may need to leave with when in a hurry. She has an exit route planned as to which way she will go and what she will take. I know this may sound dramatic but this is a very valuable plan that has saved women and children in the past. As I said earlier if your sister is not ready to leave having this plan in place will give her (and you) an element of peace just knowing it is in place.
May I suggest also that you get some information on the effects of family violence on children. This can be obtained from going to a local social service agency, a women's refuge, a community centre or from this website. They will have brochures that will give information on children who witness/experience and the effects of living with it. This may help your sister make informed decisions when it comes to her and her baby's future.
May I also suggest that your sister contacts a social service agency in your area, gives them a call and shares what is happening. They will advise how they can help. They will be able to help with your sister getting a Protection Order if she chooses. This is an order that comes from the Courts which helps keep people safe from abuse. These orders stop a perpetrator of violence being where the victim is or contacting her without her permission. If they break any of the rules they are in breach of the order and it is an offence. Once these orders have been applied for and granted the Police are notified and any time the perpetrator breaks any of the rules the Police need to be called immediately.
There is also the women's refuge which is a safe place where your sister and her son could go to if she wanted to leave and didn't feel that she had anywhere else to go. This number (and any other numbers you may need) could be got by ringing our information line on 0800 456 450. They will have all the contact details you may need.
Please know that there are many services available to help your sister in whatever her needs are should she want to reach out.
So to sum up, I would suggest that you stay as close to your sister as possible, create a safety plan, contact a social service agency, possibly apply for a protection order.
This is a very difficult time so having your support is crucial so please stay close, let your sister know how much you love her and want to support her.
I'd like to thank you for being there for your family and please know that I will be thinking of you. If you need any further information please don't hesitate to write in again and I will do all I can to assist you further. I wish you all the very best and I will be thinking of your sister.
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07 May 2013
I have been with my husband for 30 years and have left once and initiated leaving twice but have not gone as his temper has improved but it has now got to a point where I can't stand the yelling anymore. He loses his temper over the silliest things and although he has not hit me he has threatened my 15 year old for not smiling or just for the fact that he will do a good job of it if he was to call the police. I am planning on moving out but I am feeling torn as when he is calm it is great but when he is yelling at inanimate objects and threatening to kill himself and asking some unknown person 'why' everything goes wrong for him we feel intimidated and scared to react to him in case we get in the way. It is like living in a tornado, calm one minute and then all hell lets loose. I have secured all the important documents and have arranged to stay with family if it gets too bad, but trying to plan to move slowly without him knowing. My family have suggested I tell the police what is happening in case he goes over the top one day but I feel like I am betraying him just talking to family, let alone the police, do you think I should? ... Read the answer