The Office for National Statistics recorded a total of 1,316.800 domestic abuse incidents and crimes in the year ending March 2019, a 24% increase from the previous year.
Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men, during their lifetime. Two women on average per week are murdered and 30 men per year. To date, as I write this in the coronavirus lock down domestic abuse helplines have recorded a rise of 25% in calls to them.
Domestic abuse is not always overt in its appearance, aside from the more obvious bruises and broken bones of the physical trauma to the body. It is defined by an incident or a pattern of incidents that includes psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, coercive control, harassment or stalking, online or digital abuse and physical or sexual abuse.
The abuse rarely happens overnight. Instead it is a gradual and insidious process that can begin barely noticeably over a period of time and intensifies as the perpetrator gains more control over their victims lives. In my years of working with domestic abuse, the perpetrators aim is always one of complete control of the individuals right to be able to claim their own autonomy to lead their life in the way they choose by exerting their authority over anothers. The techniques they use are myriad but all are one of establishing absolute control.
The continual abuse over days, months and years obliterates the victims sense of self and destroys their belief system, allowing the perpetrator to become more dominant in their aim. Furthermore they sometimes seek to alienate friends and family, isolating the victim further, whilst often portraying themselves to the world as someone very different from that of the reality.
The emotional and physical impact from continual trauma to the person will present itself differently in each individual, impacting over a broad spectrum of issues. However one thing is consistent is that the abuse can continue to have ramifications throughout the victims lives, whether they are still in an abusive relationship or have managed to have escaped one.
The good news is that they can and do recover and go on to lead lives free of the abuse and are able to take back the control that has been denied and taken away from them. The first step is always the hardest, not only making that initial contact but by sometimes acknowledging to themselves that they are or have been in an abusive relationship.
If you are, or there is someone you know who is an abusive relationship, there are people that can help. They can offer emotional support, advice, legal advice and in some cases, safe houses where you are protected.
If you are in immediate danger, please call the Police on 999
Finally if you need to talk to me about any of the above issues, I specialise in working with domestic abuse, helping to re-establish control over your life, rebuilding your self-belief system and working corroboratively to help you move forward, leaving the impact of the trauma in the past.