What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour characterised by the exercise of control or power by one person, or sometimes more than one person, over another within an intimate or family relationship.
Domestic abuse is inflicted in the following ways:
- Physically – hitting, beating, punching, burning, choking etc.
- Sexually – making someone have sex or perform sexual acts that they do not wish to.
- Psychologically /Emotionally – belittling, name calling, dismissing, eroding confidence, swearing and verbally abusing the individual or using emotional blackmail to manipulate.
- Financially – either by restricting access to joint funds, causing financial hardship or stealing from you.
- Social Isolation – Restricting access to friends or family or causing friends and family to lose contact over time or immediately. Controlling behaviour such as monitoring social network accounts and mobile phone or internet access.
Who Experiences Domestic Violence?
By far most domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women.
However, Domestic Violence also occurs in same sex relationships and to heterosexual men by their partners or other individuals in their family.
It is important to acknowledge that domestic abuse can affect individuals from any social, geographic or cultural group, and victims of domestic abuse can be of any age, class, race or religion, male or female.
Who is the Perpetrator of Domestic Violence?
Equally those inflicting the abuse can be from as diverse a group and importantly it is not always someone who is physically stronger or older who is the abuser. Domestic Abuse can be inflicted by able bodied people as well as individuals with disabilities and can be inflicted by children towards adults or the frail can be abusive to younger and stronger individuals.
Am I in an abusive relationship?
Does your partner / family member:
- Threaten you with violence and cause you to feel frightened?
- Intimidate you?
- Isolate you from sources of support?
- Regulate and control your behaviour?
- Put you down, call you names, shout at you, demean you?
- Humiliate you privately or in front of others?
- Follow you?
- Beat you, harm you, hurt you physically?
- Controls / restricts / withholds money?
- Tells you that their behaviour is your fault?
- Forces you to have sex when you do not want to?
- Hides things from you, moves things, causes you to feel you are “going mad?”
- Breaks, hides or ‘loses’ your belongings?
- Uses their culture, religion or personal problems as a reason for their behaviour?
- Makes decisions you are not happy with or did not agree to?
If some or all of this behaviour is happening to you within an intimate or family relationship, as a result you can feel:
- Confused about what is happening, thinking thoughts such as “am I imagining things?” “Is this abuse?”
- Conflicted feelings about your partner / family member
- Trapped, as though there is no way out of the relationship
- Trapped in relation to money and housing
- Worried about your children
- Fearful of what people will think, or do or say
- Alone and isolated, feeling as though you cannot speak to friends or family
- Ashamed, lacking in self-esteem and confidence
- Depressed and / or suicidal
- Feel that you deserve to be treated in this way