If you’re not sure if you’re suffering domestic abuse, here are the common signs to look out for.
ABOUT DOMESTIC ABUSE
Domestic violence describes any violence or abuse that is used by someone to control or obtain power over their partner.
It can include physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional and financial abuse.
If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, you are being abused.
Many women experience domestic violence and other forms of abuse without ever being physically abused. Children suffer as a result of domestic abuse. Even men can fall victim to this crime.
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 most cases this is perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner, but it can also by a family member or carer.
Sadly, domestic abuse is quite common. It can include, but is not limited to:
SPOTTING THE SIGNS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship.
Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse.
The signs of domestic abuse include:
Shouting; mocking; accusing; name calling; verbally threatening.
Sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnecting the phone and internet, taking away or destroying your mobile, tablet or laptop, taking the car away, taking the children away; threatening to report you to the police, social services or the mental health team unless you comply with demands; threatening or attempting self-harm and suicide; withholding or pressuring you to use drugs or other substances; lying to your friends and family about you; telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
Persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you talk; interrupting your telephone calls; taking money without asking; refusing to help with childcare or housework.
Lying to you; withholding information from you; being jealous; having other relationships; breaking promises and shared agreements.
Monitoring or blocking your phone calls, e-mails and social media accounts, telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends and relatives; shutting you in the house.
Following you; checking up on you; not allowing you any privacy, repeatedly checking to see who has phoned you; embarrassing you in public; accompanying you everywhere you go.
Making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a weapon; threatening to kill or harm you and the children; threatening to kill or harm family pets; threats of suicide.
Using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts; having sex with you when you don’t want it; forcing you to look at pornographic material; constant pressure and harassment into having sex when you don’t want to, forcing you to have sex with other people; any degrading treatment related to your sexuality or to whether you are lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual.
Punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning; strangling, pinning you down, holding you by the neck, restraining you.
Saying the abuse doesn’t happen; saying you caused the abuse; saying you wind them up; saying he can’t control his anger; being publicly gentle and patient; crying and begging for forgiveness; saying it will never happen again.
Recognising that you are being abused is an important step. Where you go from here is up to you.