What is Domestic Violence & Abuse?

The UK government’s definition of ‘Domestic Violence and Abuse (DV & A ) is “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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and emotional.”

Any person can experience DV & A regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, disability or lifestyle. DV & A can include physical and sexual assault and Honour Based Violence, as well as emotional, psychological, financial abuse, stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour and Forced Marriage.

Recognising Domestic Violence & Abuse

Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: This may include shouting, mocking, accusing, name calling and threatening.

Pressure tactics: This may include sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you and telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.

Disrespect: This may include persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking and refusing to help with childcare or housework.

Breaking trust: This may include lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships and breaking promises or shared agreements.

Isolation: This may include monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go and preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.

Denial: This may include saying that the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being gentle and patient in public, crying and begging for forgiveness and saying it will never happen again.

Stalking and Harassment: This may include following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, checking to see who has telephoned you and embarrassing you in public.

Threats: This may include making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun and threatening to kill or harm you and the children.

Sexual violence: This may include using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex and any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.

Physical violence: This may include punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning or strangling.

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