Domestic Abuse

Who are the Victims & Who are the perpetrators?

Domestic abuse is the term used to describe the physical, sexual or emotional (mental) abuse of one person by another who is,

or has been, close to them. Most often this is a partner, ex-partner or family member.

Who is likely to be a victim of domestic abuse?

The simple answer is domestic abuse can happen to anyone. However, we know that: Most domestic abuse happens to women; 90 - 97% of victims are female. Some men experience domestic abuse. Younger women, women who are pregnant and women who have young children are more at risk. Domestic abuse happens in some lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) relationships.

inspirational quote

What is domestic abuse?

Some examples of domestic abuse are:

  • Being bullied, threatened, called names, put down and made to feel stupid.
  • Being sent abusive texts or receiving abusive phone calls
  • Being forced into unwanted sex.
  • Being threatened and having children, family, friends and pets threatened too
  • Having property destroyed.
  • Being physically assaulted or harmed
  • Being blamed, saying you caused the abusive behavior.
  • Being intimidated, emotionally blackmailed or threatened with suicide if leaving is attempted.
Abuse definition

Being controlled through:

  • Not being allowed to see family and friends
  • Being harassed and questioned when leaving the house
  • Having money or benefits taken away
  • Not being allowed to use the telephone
  • Not being allowed to make decisions.

Types of Domestic Abuse:

  • Physical violence - The use of physical force against another. Examples include hitting, shoving, grabbing, biting, restraining, shaking, choking, burning, forcing drug/alcohol use, and assault with a weapon, etc. Physical violence may or may not result in an injury that requires medical attention.
  • Sexual violence - involves the violation of an individual’s bodily integrity (sexual assault), including coercing sexual contact, rape, and prostitution, as well as any unwelcome sexual behavior (sexual harassment), including treating someone in a sexually demeaning manner or any other conduct of a sexual nature, whether physical, verbal, or non-verbal. Sexual abuse also includes behaviour which limits reproductive rights, such as preventing use of contractive methods and forcing abortion.
  • Psychological abuse - intimidation, threats of harm, and isolation. Examples include instilling fear in an intimate partner through threatening behaviour, such as damaging property or abusing pets, constant supervision, or controlling what the victim does and who they talk to.
  • Emotional abuse - involves undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth. Examples of emotional abuse include constant criticism, name-calling, embarrassing, mocking, humiliating, and treating like a servant.
  • Financial abuse - involves making or attempting to make the victim financially dependent on the abuser. Examples of economic abuse include preventing or forbidding an intimate partner from working or gaining and education, controlling the financial resources, and withholding access to economic resources.

Physical Abuse

“I’ve had a knife to my throat, he threw all of my stuff out of the house, he has kicked my car door off. I was isolated, I lost a lot of friends. It was torrents of verbal abuse. I wasn’t allowed out, I couldn’t speak to people. I didn’t feel capable of doing anything at the time, it just chips away at your self-esteem”.
Abuse bedroom setting

Emotional Abuse

“The worst abuse was more emotional. It was very subtle, little put-downs. He started controlling the money. I wouldn’t have any money to buy things for myself. He was timing me when I did go out and asking me “Who’ve you been talking to?” If I spoke, I was talking rubbish and I wasn’t to speak. He used to keep the car away from me and he wouldn’t let me have contact with my family. He said I was thick and stupid and I would never get a job, nobody would want me. I honestly thought I was going mad”.

Why might SOMEONE find it difficult to believe that what THEY ARE experiencing is domestic abuse?

There are lots of reasons why this might be the case: They may not want to believe that these things are happening to them . The relationship may be affectionate at times. They may love the person who is abusing them. They may have been persuaded that this isn’t abuse. They may have been abused before and think it is “normal”.

Why don’t people always seek help or support?

Perhaps they think that people might not believe them There may not seem to be an alternative. They may feel that nothing can be done to help them They may have had bad experiences of others not wanting to get involved. They may feel too afraid to seek help or support. Perhaps they hope that the relationship will improve. Fear being judged by other people. They may think that you will lose their friends. They may feel ashamed or guilty.

Cycle of abuse
In an emergency you should always dial 999 for help

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