50 INCIDENTS OF ABUSE – WHY DIDN’T YOU LEAVE? 50 INCIDENTS OF ABUSE – WHY DIDN’T YOU LEAVE? At Hestia, we understand that every incident of domestic abuse is unique yet we know one question that isn’t – “why didn’t they just leave?” On average victims will experience abuse for 2.3 years which includes 50 incidents of abuse before seeking help (Office of National Statistics). This can be from contacting a police station or an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA). The reasons for staying in an abusive relationship are complex and will include several factors. In Hestia’s last policy paper, Victim To Survivor, 25% of women delayed leaving for reasons relating to children, money and family whereas 34% did not know where to go after leaving the relationship. A staggering 63% of Hestia residents did not know refuges existed before being referred to one. Up until the point of leaving, victims may express feelings of low self-esteem. Their continued sense of terror can often cause mental health conditions such as PTSD, flashbacks, insomnia and anxiety. Hestia’s dedicated staff support residents to take back control of their life. Leaving an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult and it is vital to support your friend or family member at their individual pace. It is important to: believe what the victim is telling you. to listen without judgement. be able to signpost to support. Every time a victim is questioned for not leaving, the accusation is deflected from the perpetrator and positioned against the victim.