What is domestic abuse?


The Government definition of domestic abuse is: Any incident or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or are family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic violence occurs in all settings, regardless of ethnicity, social background, sexuality or financial status and it occurs in heterosexual and same sex relationships to people of all ages. It can be perpetuated by an ex-partner, a partner or a family member.

This not only includes physical violence but other types of abuse such as verbal abuse, threatening behaviour, emotional/psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, isolation and false allegations.

Examples of power and control, abusers believes that they have a right to control their partners by:

  • Telling their partner what to do and expecting obedience
  • Using force to maintain power and control
  • Not accepting responsibility for their actions
  • Forced marriage

Examples of physical abuse include:

  • Abusers believe in using physical aggression to enforce power, such as kicking, punching, pinching, slapping, choking and biting. The use or threats of use of "weapons", including knives and irons. Objects being thrown
  • Being scalded or poisoned
  • Violence against family members or pets
  • Stopping one partner from seeing their children by breaching court orders

Examples of verbal abuse:

  • Constant yelling and shouting verbal humiliation either in private or in public.
  • Constantly being laughed at and being made fun of. Blaming you for their own failures

Examples of threatening behaviour:

  • The threat of violence
  • The threat of use of "weapons" including knives and irons
  • The threat of use of violence against family members or pets
  • Threatening to use extended family members to attack you
  • Destroying personal items
  • Threatening to tell the police that you are the person committing the domestic abuse
  • Threatening to remove your children

Examples of emotional and psychological abuse:

  • Intimidation. Withholding affection. Turning your children and friends against you
  • Being stopped from seeing friends or relatives
  • Constantly being insulted, including in front of others
  • Repeatedly being belittled
  • Keeping you awake/stopping you sleeping
  • Excessive contact, for example stalking using social media sites to intimidate you (such as Facebook and Twitter)

Examples of Financial Abuse:

  • Totally controlling the family income
  • Not allowing you to spend any money unless "permitted"
  • Making you account for every pound you spend
  • Running up huge bills such as credit/store cards in your name
  • Purposely defaulting on payments

Examples of Sexual Abuse:

  • Sexual harassment/pressure
  • Forcing sex after physical assaults
  • Sexually degrading language
  • Rape

Examples of Isolation:

  • Limiting outside involvement such as family, friends and work colleagues
  • Not allowing any activity outside the home that does not include him/her
  • Constant checking up on your whereabouts