What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or financial, violence, intimidation or coercive control. It takes place within intimate, family or family-like relationships and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. Not all domestic abuse is physically violent but can include a range of abuses including forced marriage and honour based abuse.
Domestic abuse is most commonly experienced by women and most commonly perpetrated by men. However men can also experience domestic abuse. Domestic abuse takes place across race, ethnic and religious groups, class and disability. It can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships.
Domestic abuse is not restricted to ‘partners’; it can involve other ‘family’ members, including children.
Abusive behaviour can happen in any relationship and it can continue even after the relationship has ended.
The Home Office ‘official’ definition domestic abuse is:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
“Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
“Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
How do I tell if a relationship is abusive?
In a healthy relationship people treat each other with respect.
There are a number of signs of domestic abuse. Answer the following questions honestly to work out if you are being treated with the respect you deserve:
- Do you feel comfortable being yourself?
- Do you feel there is compromise in the relationship?
- Are they jealous or possessive?
- Does they try to control what you wear, where you go or what you do?
- Do they physically hurt you?
- Do they emotionally hurt you (by calling you names, threatening you, making you feel bad)?
- Do they try to resolve arguments and conflict by talking honestly?
- Do you feel safe being with them?
- Do they respect your feelings, your opinions and your friends?
- Do they accept you saying no to things you don’t want to do (like sex)?
- Do they accept you changing your mind?
- Do they respect your wishes if you want to end the relationship?
When someone cares for you, you feel safe and respected and free to be yourself. You shouldn’t be made to feel scared, intimidated or controlled.
If you would like to talk to someone contact our helpline
0808 801 0882. Calls to this helpline are free from landlines and mobile phones within the UK and do not appear on itemised bills.