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Domestic Violence

Last year (2012), around 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse, over 400,000 women were sexually assaulted, 60,000 women were raped and thousands more were stalked. These crimes are often hidden away behind closed doors, with the victim suffering in silence.

Fewer than 1 in 4 people who suffer abuse at the hands of their partner – and only around 1 in 10 women who experience serious sexual assault – report it to the police.

Definition
The Government defines domestic violence as

“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.”

This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called ‘honour based violence’, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

An adult is defined as any person aged 18 years or over. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily.

Domestic Violence (abuse) is the physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and/or economic abuse of one person by another who is in, or has been in, a relationship with them. The relationship may be between partners, ex-partners or other family members.

Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography. The figures show, however, that it consists mainly of violence by men against women. Children are also affected, both directly and indirectly and there is also a strong correlation between domestic violence and child abuse suggesting overlap rates of between 40-60%. This is not to deny the existence of violence toward men or that women abuse. It is acknowledged that domestic violence (abuse) occurs between same sex partners.

Certain groups face additional barriers and discrimination when trying to access services.

Range of Abuse

Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Typically the abuse involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The abuse can begin at any time, in the first year, or after many years of life together. It may begin, continue, or escalate after a couple have separated and may take place not only in the home but also in a public place.

When people think of domestic violence (abuse) they focus on the physical abuse rather that the psychological abuse. It is important to understand that domestic violence (abuse) is wide ranging, and that other forms of abuse have a negative impact upon the person’s well-being as much as physical injuries.
This range of abusive behaviour can be split into 4 sections.

Physical – pushing, shoving, beating, burning, strangling, kicking, stabbing, killing

Sexual – sexual degradation, rape, forced and unwanted sexual practices.

Psychological – complete control of the person’s life, threats to kill the person and/or the children, enforced social isolation, verbal abuse and threats, constant criticism, sleep deprivation.

Financial – taking money, denying the person money and/or money for the children

Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

 

facts about domestic violence

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