What is Domestic Abuse?
We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
- Psychological and/or emotional abuse
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Financial or economic abuse
- Harassment and stalking
- Online or digital abuse
- Is your partner jealous of your friends, family and even pets?
- Does your partner ridicule or insult people you like?
- Does your partner intercept your mail or telephone calls?
- Do you have fewer contacts and activities with family and friends than before you started the relationship?
- Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
- Has your partner ever tried to prevent you from taking necessary medication or seeking medical help when you needed it?
- Has your partner ever kept you short of money so that you are unable to buy food, pay for heating or buy things for yourself or the children.
- Do you constantly have to think about how your partner will react when making any decision however small e.g. what to cook for dinner, what food to buy?
- Has your partner ever prevented you or made it hard for you to continue studying or from going to work?
- Has your partner ever destroyed any of your possessions deliberately?
- Has your partner ever killed or threatened to kill a family pet?
- Has your partner ever become angry if you disagree with anything?
- Has your partner ever threatened you with a weapon?
- Has your partner ever assaulted you physically or caused a physical injury due to aggressive behaviour e.g. shoving or pushing?
- Has your partner ever forced you to have sex or participate in sexual activities that you were uncomfortable with?
- Does your partner blame alcohol, drugs or mental health as the cause of the abuse?
- Does your partner blame your mental health as the cause of the behaviour?
- Does your partner constantly criticise, belittle or humiliate you?
- Does your partner unjustly accuse you of flirting or having affairs with others?
Am I in an abusive relationship?
The following list of questions may help you decide whether you are in a domestic abuse relationship
Does your partner control your contact with the outside world?
Does your partner control how you behave?
Has your partner ever tried to control your behaviour by threats or force?
Does your partner try to blame you or others for the abuse?
Why doesn’t she leave? is a question that we are asked all the time. There are a number of answers to that question some of which are listed below.
Danger of Separation
One of the most important reasons women don’t leave is because it can be incredibly dangerous. statistically there is a huge rise in the likelihood of violence including homicide after separation.
Domestic abuse often relies on isolating the victim: the perpetrator works to weaken her connections with family and friends, making it extremely difficult to seek support.
Perpetrators are often well respected or liked in their communities because they are charming and manipulative. This prevents people recognising the abuse and isolates the woman further. The perpetrator often minimises, denies or blames the abuse on the victim.
Control through Fear
Imagine being told every day that you’re worthless and the impact that this has on your self-esteem. Victims have very limited freedom to make decisions in an abusive relationship. They are often, regularly told ‘you couldn’t manage on your own, you need me’. Fear is constant and they live in a world of everyday terror.
Financial and Practical
Abusers often control every aspect of their victim’s life – making it impossible to have a job or financial independence. By controlling access to money women are left unable to support themselves or their children. They may fear having their children taken away or, if she has an insecure immigration status, may fear being deported.
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