What is domestic abuse?

A woman is killed through domestic abuse every three days.

Domestic abuse encompasses one or more of the following: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse and financial/economic abuse. It involves controlling and coercive behaviour and it rarely happens just once – such abuse tends to worsen and occur more frequently over time.

Coercive behaviour can take many forms, which includes, but is not limited to: manipulation, stalking, ignoring you, extreme jealousy, monitoring or restricting you, the controlling of resources, isolating you and unreasonable demands. It can be defined as ‘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’. It can also include ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage – though those affected are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make another 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.

Identifying abuse

In a healthy relationship you would not be subject to destructive criticism, mocking or name-calling. You wouldn’t be told where you could or couldn’t go, you wouldn’t have your choices taken away from you, you wouldn’t be living in fear of being reported by your partner to social services or your local mental health team.

There are many more examples we could use; the ones already mentioned indicate deeper issues than simply ‘a bad relationship’. If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing/have experienced domestic abuse, come in and talk to us.

Spot the signs of domestic abuse
Is it a bad relationship or Domestic abuse?

Our centre is open from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday; outside of these times you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence helpline (freephone) on 0808 2000 247.