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Break the Silence

Leaving Safely


If you are suffering domestic violence and think your attacker may check your internet activity, use a friend’s computer or go to the public library or an internet café. It is possible to clear your history pages by going to Internet Options, but it is difficult to remove all records and we would strongly advise you to use another device if you are at all worried.

Many people flee their homes on the spur of the moment, when their life is in danger this is often their only option. However, if you are thinking of leaving, the information below, based on UK Home office advice, will make sorting your life out afterwards a lot easier.

  • Don’t wait until you are being attacked, make plans in advance and leave when it is safe.
  • Pack a small suitcase with essential clothes. If possible, leave it with a friend where it won’t be found.
  • Take your children with you if possible.
  • Take all important documents such as birth certificates, passports, bank details etc.
  • Take any prescription medicines you or your children need.
  • Take spare house keys. If you need to return ask the police to accompany you.
  • If you have a mobile, make sure it is charged.
  • Have a small emergency fund for fares or phone calls.

Try to get some advice from one of the agencies listed on this website. They will give you information about housing, benefits and support. Most law firms have a partner who specialises in Family Law. National Centre for Domestic Violence for 24 Hour Emergency free advice on 0844 8044 999 or Text “NCDV” to 60777 or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once you have left, do not arrange to meet your abuser alone however sincere their remorse appears.


Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality


  • Questioning you about who you have spoken to
  • Constantly phoning, texting, surprising you
  • Accusing you of flirting

Controlling Behaviour

  • Making all the decisions for you
  • Often masked as concern for you and your safety
  • Anger at your coming home late
  • Not allowing you to make personal decisions or penalising you for making “wrong” ones

Quick Involvement

  • Often claim love at first sight
  • Seem too good to be true
  • Make you feel guilty and pressure you into committing to relationship too soon

Unrealistic Expectations

  • Expect you to be the perfect parent / lover / friend
  • “If you love me, I’m all you need”
  • Blame you for not being perfect


  • Stop you going out with family / friends etc
  • Accuse your family / friends of causing trouble
  • Stop you working / using transport
  • Move you to another location

Blame Shifting for Problems

  • Always someone else’s fault eg. Loss of job because “they didn’t like me”
  • Someone is always out to get them
  • Becomes your fault for upsetting them / preventing them from doing what they wanted

Blame Shifting for Feelings

  • Deny their own problem and blame you
  • Make you responsible for their wellbeing
  • Make you responsible for everything negative in their life


  • Most abusers have low self esteem
  • Claim to be hurt when really angry
  • If you prefer something different to them they take it as criticism

Cruelty to Animals

  • Insensitive to an animal’s pain or distress
  • Punish animals excessively
  • Deliberately forget to feed them

Cruelty to Children

  • Think of children as small adults and blame them for not being responsible
  • Punish the child for “being naughty” when they don’t understand eg. A 2 year-old wetting themselves after a nightmare
  • Want all the attention for themselves . . . jealousy . . . keeping children in their room

Playful use of Force in Sex

  • Pretends to like something new
  • Pressurises you to agree to forceful or violent acts
  • Having no concern for how you feel eg. Demanding sex while you are asleep . . . being sexually violent

Rigid Sex Rules / Stereotpes

  • Expect you to serve and obey them
  • Tell them that you are stupid and inferior
  • Sees you as not being whole unless you are in a relationship

Verbal Abuse

  • Says things in private and public that are cruel and hurtful
  • Runs down any of your accomplishments
  • Tells you that you are stupid . . . may keep you up all night trying to sort out something that is a figment of their imagination

Dr Jeckyll or Mr Hyde

  • Not constantly harsh or nasty
  • Normal and pleasant to the outside world
  • Can be kind one minute and explosive the next

Drink or Substance Abuse

  • Excessive misuse of alcohol / drugs can be a warning sign of an increase in abuse
  • Does not need to take responsibility
  • 60% link

History of Battering or Sexual Abuse

  • “Not my fault . . . they (victim) made me do it”
  • “You wont be stupid enough to wind me up like that”
  • Past violence is one of the strongest indicators that the violence will continue

Threatening Violence

  • “If you do . . . I will hit you”
  • Threats to manipulate or control you
  • Tells you that you are over-sensitive when they have gone too far

Breaking or Striking Objects

  • Throwing something at you / the wall
  • Hitting you or breaking something
  • Having childlike tantrums to terrorise you

Any Force during an Argument

  • Restrain you from leaving the room
  • Pin you against the wall
  • Lash out at you with their hand


It is all about Power and Control


for control wheel video see


Penny Beale Memorial Fund

Domestic Violence Victim

Break the Silence

On 25th November 2001 Penny was brutally murdered. The victim of domestic violence, she was punched kicked and stamped on by her partner. She received 123 injuries, including 18 broken ribs, her liver, spleen and lungs were pierced. Penny was 31 years old.

Penny’s story was not unique, it followed a pattern that is repeated daily worldwide. This is her story, told by her mother, and the subsequent action her mother is taking to advise victims of domestic violence about the choices open to them.

“Domestic violence statistics are about real people – you, me and the woman next door. On November 25th 2001 – International Domestic Violence Awareness day – my daughter, Penny, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend here in Hastings, England. In the 18 months prior to her death the number of times Penny “fell down the stairs” and “bumped into the bathroom door” increased at an alarming rate. She was treated in hospital for various injuries including a cut to her head, requiring 8 stitches, which was caused by a blade.

On one occasion she told the ambulance crew how she had sustained her injuries and I hoped that at last she was going to take some action to prevent further pain. I had contacted various agencies for help and advice, including the police. Penny was too frightened to make a statement to the police herself.

Penny repeatedly asked her boyfriend to leave, but he always returned. I had requested that she be put on the Domestic Violence At Risk Register. I later learnt that the police had done the same when called to an incident at her home in February 2001. I also complained to the hospital after Penny was discharged in her boyfriend’s company when she was due to be sectioned after a suicide attempt.

I felt as though I was regarded as a neurotic parent making a fuss over very little. I know now that Domestic Violence is so widespread the police and other agencies wanted the victim to take the first step. This is no longer a legal requirement. I stated to various agencies that my greatest fear was to be called to the morgue to identify the body. Sadly this is exactly what I was forced to do.

I cannot bring my daughter back, but I have set up the Penny Beale Memorial Fund to raise awareness of the extent of Domestic Violence and offer advice and support to victims. If I can save one other life – then . . . “

Penny Beale senior


Penny Beale Memorial Fund

Tackling Domestic Violence


The Penny Beale Memorial Fund is a registered charity set up to combat domestic violence. The constitution states its objectives as “to preserve and protect the physical and mental health of persons who are or have been the victims of domestic  violence and to advance the education of the public, including local authorities and voluntary bodies, by the provision of information, advice and training programmes into the causes, remedies and prevention of domestic violence.”

The DVD Break the Silence is available to view via the link.

Penny Beale senior lives in Hastings, East Sussex, and is willing to give talks and show the DVD to any interested organisation if expenses are covered (travel and accommodation).

Contact email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse please go to our pages of useful contacts. You are not alone _ help is available.

Advice. If you are suffering domestic abuse and think that your attacker may check your internet activity, use a friend’s computer or go to the public library or internet café. It is possible to clear your history pages by going to Internet Options, but it is difficult to remove all records and we would strongly advise you to use another device if you are at all worried.

Useful Links

Clare’s Law If in doubt about a new relationship, Clare’s law provides the right to ask the police if there is a history of abuse, and the right to be given appropriate information, enabling better informed choices to be made. Proactively, Police can inform new partners of an abuser if considered relevant.



The Hideout for children and young people witnessing abuse

Survivors’ Handbook

Expect respect: Education Toolkit a teachers’ aid including lesson plans for all age groups

Respect for perpetrators

Responding to Domestic Abuse: A handbook for Health Professionals (and others)

Coercive Control by Evan Stark

Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse

Help and advice for those left behind

 Please visit website.