Get help

How do you know if your relationship is toxic? What happens when you decide to change your life? How did other women succeed? Who can help you? These questions are the first step in your journey from victim to survivor.

What is a healthy relationship?

In a healthy relationship, the partners discuss their needs and problems openly, listen to each other respectfully and trust each other. Honesty and is important, just like equal access to decisions. Both partners enjoy personal time, without making the other feel rejected, hurt, or angry. Their intimate relations are always based on consent. Financially, the partners make joint decisions regarding priority expenses and they each have access to their own money.

What is abuse?

Should you find yourself in any of the situations below, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. If it becomes life-threatening, call 112 immediately and ask for help, or +4 0800 500 333 – the free 24/7 national line.

Physical violence

Slapping, hitting, shoving, strangling, kidnapping, use of physical force to hurt you, etc.

Emotional/ psychological violence

Harassment, following, isolation, ridicule, belittle, control (the way you dress/who you see), blackmail, etc.

Sexual violence

Sexual acts forced upon you, without your consent: advances, verbal allusions, gestures, touches (usually, repeated and non-reciprocal) Rape is one of the most serious forms of sexual abuse.

Economic/ financial violence

Controlling your income, forbidding you from working, excluding you from money-related decisions, etc.

SOCIAL VIOLENCE

Takes the form of isolation from family, friends, community.

VERBAL VIOLENCE

Shouting, decieving, threathening, blaming, criticising, etc.

CYBER VIONECE

Controlling social media accounts or banning online interaction, threats to post personal
information on the internet.

SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE

Using faith and religious rituals to manipulate and take control over someone’s life.

Help

What should you do?

When you witness a violent incident

Immediately call 112. This is the first step towards saving the victim’s life. It doesn’t matter whether you know the victim or not. If you can, accompany her to get first aid or testify for her in court. You may be the only one who can attest to what happened.

When somebody you know faces intimate partner violence

Don’t ask when her relationship became violent. Listen empathetically and openly and only offer to help if you are asked to. Don’t make assumptions and offer your unconditional support. Don’t push the victim to make any decisions. We all have our own rhythm and mechanisms when facing difficult situations.

If you are facing a difficult situation and decide to leave

Look for real support when you let your partner know you want to leave him. This is one of the most dangerous moments and it is recommended that it happens in the presence of people close to you, so they can help protect you if necessary. Make use of the services of a counselling centre or of other specialized services (for example, a support group, a shelter, etc.). Gather information about the protection order, which obliges the perpetrator to keep the distance.

If you decide to stay in the same house as the perpetrator

Establish a code for danger through which to let neighbours or friends to take action in case of danger, and to call the police.

What to do to leave safely?

Ask people close to you for support. 

To stay safe, you may have to move to a place where your former partner can’t find you. If you have children, you may have to transfer them to another school.

 

Safety luggage

Prepare a safety luggage with clothes, money, official documents (ID, birth certificate, driving licence, credit card, etc.), back up house/car keys, documents attesting the violence (pictures, recordings, forensic medicine certificates etc.). For further details, click here.

What to do after leaving the perpetrator?

Try to move to a safe space and only tell people you trust about your new address.

Buy a new SIM card and only give the number to people you trust. Change the passwords to all your social media accounts (e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to make sure you are not followed.

Cancel old bank accounts and credit cards, especially if you shared them with the perpetrator. Change your bank when opening new accounts.

If you stay in the same area as the perpetrator, change your daily routine.Take another route to work, avoid places where you used to go together and he could find you, shop in different stores/markets. Always have a charged phone with you, in case you have to call 112.

Ask for help from people or organizations specialized in the topic of violence. Find a support group. Try to understand what this new life means for you.

Get a protection order

The protection order is a court order instating urgent measures to protect you and your children. For example, one measure is to oblige the perpetrator to keep a minimum distance from you and your children, or from your and your children’s house, work place or school.

What to do to obtain a protection order?

Fill in a standard form, and submit it to the Court in whose jurisdiction you live. The form can be submitted personally or, with your consent, by a prosecutor or a social services worker dealing with domestic violence. There are no costs, as the form is exempt from stamp duties.