Domestic Abuse and How to get Help

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is when a person is abusive towards another person who is a part of the same household, or who is in a relationship with them. This can include elder abuse and child abuse, but the most common type of domestic abuse is between married partners. There are several forms of domestic abuse which can damage the victim’s physical and emotional well-being. Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour which the abuser uses to control their partner. Although it most frequently happens to women at the hands of men, domestic abuse can happen to anyone in any type of relationship. Types of abuse include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Psychological abuse

Domestic abuse is the repetition of one or more of these behaviours. It does not have to include incidents of physical or sexual violence for the abuse to count as domestic abuse.

Signs of Domestic Abuse

It can be difficult to acknowledge when you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse. There are lots of signs that you could pick up on to identify when a relationship is abusive. Ask the following questions about the victim and abuser to identify domestic abuse.

Emotional Domestic Abuse

Does the abusive person ever:

  • Put you down or criticise you?
  • Blame you for things?
  • Deny things that happened?
  • Isolate you from friends and family?
  • Accuse you of cheating on them?
  • Make unreasonable demands?
  • Stop you from going out?
  • Control your money?

Psychological Domestic Abuse

Does the abusive person ever:

  • Threaten to hurt you or kill you?
  • Threaten to hurt or kill themselves?
  • Threaten to hurt or kill someone else?
  • Invade your personal space?
  • Harass you or follow you around?
  • Read your private messages?
  • Use information against you?

Physical Domestic Abuse

Does the abusive person ever:

  • Hit, slap, or punch you?
  • Push and shove you?
  • Kick you?
  • Bite you?
  • Burn you?
  • Choke you?
  • Hold you down?
  • Throw things?

Sexual Domestic Abuse

Does the abusive person ever:

  • Make sexual demands?
  • Touch you against your will?
  • Pressure you into having sex?
  • Physically hurt you during sex?
  • Force you to have unsafe sex?

Effects of Domestic Abuse

Do you (the victim) ever:

  • Feel anxious around this person?
  • Get scared when the person gets angry?
  • Change your behaviour around the person to avoid arguments?
  • Feel guilty about the way the person treats you?
  • Feel lonely or as if you have no freedom or control?

If the answer to any of the questions is yes, then this is likely to be a domestic abuse case.


How to Report Domestic Abuse

In cases of domestic abuse, it is important to remember that it is not the victim’s fault and that they are entitled to help to escape the situation. It is the victim’s decision whether they want to report domestic abuse to the police. It may be necessary for the victim to find somewhere safe that they can stay while they seek legal action against their abuser. If the victim is living with their abuser and does decide to leave, they can get advice and support from a specialist charity. Women can contact Refuge or Women’s Aid for help. There is also a domestic abuse helpline for men called the Men’s Advice Line. Contact the police on 999 if there is an immediate physical threat to your wellbeing from an abuser. If you wish to report historical domestic abuse, go to your local police station to file a report against your abuser. When you have a crime reference number, you could claim domestic abuse compensation.

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