Call us on 01736 367539

What is domestic abuse?

We define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

Physical violence is only one aspect of domestic abuse and an abuser’s behaviour can vary, from being very brutal and degrading to small actions that leave you humiliated. Those living with domestic abuse are often left feeling isolated and exhausted. Domestic abuse also includes cultural issues such as honour-based violence

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

Coercive Control

These behaviours through which a perpetrator exerts power or control over another person are regarded as coercive control:

  • Sharing sexually explicit images of a partner, online such as ‘revenge porn’, or elsewhere;
  • Restricting access to money, as the law prohibits breadwinners from stopping their partner from having money or giving them punitive allowances;
  • Repeatedly putting down their partner, such as persistent name calling, mocking or belittling them;
  • Making a partner obey the perpetrator’s rules, without, for instance, giving the partner a say in decisions;
  • Controlling what a partner wears;
  • Stopping or restricting a partner from seeing friends or family, perhaps by monitoring or blocking their calls or emails, telling them where they can or cannot go;
  • Scaring a partner by, for example, making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting the partner down, destroying their possessions, breaking things or punching walls;
  • Threatening to reveal private things about a partner, such as details about their health or sexual orientation;
  • Putting tracking devices on a partner’s phone, maybe to monitor their social media messages or check where they are;
  • Being extremely jealous by constantly accusing a partner of cheating by simply looking at another person; and
  • Forcing a partner to do things they don’t want to, which could be as serious as commit crimes, neglect or abuse their children.
  • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)

Emotional Abuse

Much of coercive control is also emotional abuse, which can also include a perpetrator:

  • Blaming a partner for the abuse or arguments;
  • Denying abuse is happening, or playing it down;
  • Stopping them going to college or work; and
  • Making unreasonable demands for their attention.
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse [2]

Threats & Intimidation

This covers the perpetrator doing one or more of:

  • Destroying possessions which belong to their partner;
  • Standing over them or invading their personal space;
  • Reading their emails, texts or letters;
  • Threatening to hurt or kill their partner; or
  • Threatening to harm or kill themselves or the children?

Stalking & Harassment

While people are stalked or harassed by strangers or acquaintances, the behaviour can be a form of domestic abuse too. Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, fixated or obsessive behaviour which is intrusive, and causes the fear of violence or serious alarm and distress to the victim. Following, watching or spying on someone, or forcing contact through social media, can be considered as stalking. Harassment relates to repeated attempts to impose unwanted contact or communication with someone, causing the victim distress or fear.

Harassment and stalking

Physical Abuse

This includes slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, biting, kicking, burning, choking, holding down, use of weapons and throwing things at the victim.

Sexual Abuse

This covers perpetrators touching the victim in a way they don’t want to be touched, making unwanted sexual demands, pressurising the victim to have sex, hurting them during sex and pressurising them to have unsafe sex. Also, as the Home Office bluntly states in its advice on the subject: “If your partner has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape.”

Honour Violence/Abuse

This is behaviour involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) which can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code, such as by perceived immoral behaviour.

Female Genital Mutilation

This is a collective term for a range of illegal procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Financial or economic abuse

Online or digital abuse

Domestic abuse is the systematic pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control the victim.The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s/family member’s reaction is being abused. It can begin at any stage of the relationship. Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off. Incidents generally become more frequent and severe over time.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Whilst domestic abuse happens in all relationships (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), statistics show the vast majority of domestic abuse incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.

Domestic abuse is a crime. We all have a role to play in bringing domestic violence to an end.

A huge thank you to our main funders

Our Funders & Patrons
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram