In relationships it can sometimes be difficult to know what behaviours are normal and acceptable. If you have been subject to domestic violence you may not have recognised it as such at the time, especially if you are experiencing an intimate relationship for the first time.
Coming to university may also be the first time you have had the personal space to reflect on past experiences or feel safe enough to report your experience of domestic violence or abuse. The information outlined here is relevant no matter when the domestic violence or abuse took place.
Recognising domestic violence
Regardless of age or gender, the impact of domestic violence goes far beyond any physical injuries. It is important to recognise the many types of domestic violence, which form a pattern of repeated behaviours. SUNY Oneonta Know Violence highlights these in their ‘when love hurts’ campaign.
These behaviours are aimed to;
- Reduce self-esteem.
- Instil fear.
- Promote dependency.
What if this is happening to me now?
It is important that if you recognise and relate to any of the information within the ‘when love hurts’ campaign you take these seriously, as it is highly probable that you are in an unhealthy relationship. These behaviours and tension builders will only worsen in time. We would advise that you seek professional support.
You may wish to log and evidence the abusive behaviour by visiting the GP, or you may wish to report abusive behaviour to the Police. Some students choose to keep a personal log of incidents, injuries whilst preparing to leave the relationship.
It’s important that whatever your decision we will support you to feel emotionally and physically safe.
What will the University do?
A Student Services Adviser will listen and offer emotional and practical advice, every situation and individual experience is different, and we will assess your situation. If the alleged perpetrator is another student, you may choose to take disciplinary action.
We can support you in looking at adjustments to study or sit exams in Wavy Top, submitting Mitigating Circumstances, making a safety plan, accessing services like Student Advice for housing or financial support or third sector such as UAVA.
What if I witnessed these things at home?
If you are worried about a child or family member witnessing domestic violence, we can support you and talk through your options. These can include safety planning, risk assessments or safeguarding younger siblings or vulnerable parents.