What is domestic abuse?
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a 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.
Coercive behaviour is 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.
Examples of domestic abuse
- Someone shouting at you or making threats, humiliating or intimidating you.
- Someone controlling you by restricting where you can go, who you can see or who you can phone.
- Emotional abuse can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased. Continual insults, accusations and insinuations erode away at a person until they lose all sense of self-esteem and confidence.
- Domestic abuse is the most prevalent cause of depression and other mental health difficulties in women.
- Someone injuring you physically in any way e.g. punching, kicking, slapping, pushing.
- In the UK, two women every week are killed by a partner or former partner, and a women is at most risk of death or serious injury at the point of leaving or up to a year afterwards.
- Domestic abuse accounts for between 16% and a quarter of all violent crime (Rise 2016).
- Someone intimidating or coercing you into performing sexual acts or forcing you to have sex with them.
- Someone using the power of their position to persuade you into a sexual relationship.
- 54% of rapes are committed by a woman’s partner or former partner and a third of teenage girls suffer unwanted sexual acts in a relationship (Rise 2016).
- Someone denying you access to money, taking your money or preventing you from getting a job.
- This can make you become dependent and powerless.
- You may be asked to account for every penny spent or every phone call made on an itemised bill.
- Honour Based Violence (HBV) can be described as a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.
- Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
- See the Crown Prosecution Service webpage about HBV and Forced Marriage for more information.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is sometimes referred to as Female Circumcision or Female Genital Cutting.
- It is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the range of procedures that involve 'The partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason’.
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What support is available for you as a member of staff?