DEFINITIONS

 

  1. Domestic Abuse - Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined across Government as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality. 

  2. Coercive control - 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.

  3. Financial abuse - is a current or former partner controlling someone’s ability to acquire, use or maintain financial resources by preventing victims from earning or accessing their own money.

  4. Sexual abuse - When a child or young person is sexually abused, they're forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what's happening is abuse or that it's wrong. And they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online.

  5. Sexual assault -  illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (such as a doctor) in a position of trust or authority.

  6. Emotional abuse - is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

  7. Peer on peer abuse - is any form of physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and/or coercive control exercised between children and young people; this includes intimate and non-intimate relationships. Buy as a standalone course

 

 

SIGNS OF ABUSE

 

  1. Signs of Domestic Abuse

 

They’re not always as obvious as you might think. That’s because domestic abuse is about controlling someone’s mind and emotions as much as hurting their body. Being abused can leave you scared and confused. It can be hard for you to see your partner’s actions for what they really are.

 

Usually, physical abuse isn’t what comes first. The abuse can creep up slowly. A putdown here or there. An odd excuse to keep you away from family or friends. The violence often ramps up once you’ve been cut off from other people. By then, you feel trapped.

 

Signs of Abuse

If you’re afraid of your partner, that’s a big red flag. You may be scared to say what you think, to bring up certain topics, or to say no to sex. No matter the reason, fear has no place in a healthy relationship.

 

If you feel like you’re being abused, there’s a good chance you may be, and it’s worth getting help. Keep that in mind as you think about these signs:

Your partner bullies, threatens, or controls you:

  • Accuses you of having an affair

  • Blames you for abuse

  • Criticizes you

  • Tells you what to wear and how you should look

  • Threatens to kill you or someone close to you

  • Throws things or punches walls when angry

  • Yells at you and makes you feel small

 

 

2. Signs of Coercive control

 

The term coercive control was first created by Evan Stark in order to fully understand that domestic violence is not just about physical abuse.

Coercive control is when a person that you have a personal relationship with behaves repeatedly in a way that makes you feel controlled, dependent, scared or isolated.

 

Signs of coercive control include:

  1. Monitoring your activities with family and friends

  2. Constantly checking up on you

  3. Questioning your behaviour

  4. Setting time limits when you are out with friends

  5. Isolating your from family and friends

  6. Banning you from seeing certain people

  7. Stopping you from working in certain places

  8. Controlling how you spend your money

  9. Controlling how you dress or style your hair

  10. Telling you what you should eat

  11. Making disparaging comments about your figure

  12. Putting you down in public

  13. Repeatedly telling you that you’re worthless

  14. Allowing you no privacy

  15. Damaging your property

  16. Using children to report on you

  17. Getting angry at the slightest little thing

  18. You are constantly living in fear of upsetting them

  19. You have to do things in a particular way or they will get angry

  20. Your needs are not important and never discussed

 

 

3. Signs of Financial abuse

 

Financial abuse can manifest differently dependently on your specific circumstances, but according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, it often involves "tactics to limit the partner's access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances." There are also a number of general warning signs of financial abuse that frequently occur, so if these warning signs ring true for you, the most important thing is to take care of yourself: Get to safe space where you can talk about your situation with a trustworthy person.

 

  •         missing belongings.

  •         inability to find the money for basics such as food, clothing, transport costs and bills.

  •         large withdrawals or big changes in banking habits or activities.

  •         property transfers when the person is no longer able to manage their own financial affairs.

  •         fear, stress and anxiety.

 

 

4. Sexual Abuse

 

In a close relationship, it can be difficult to know whether you are being abused, especially if your partner says they love you, gives you a lot of attention, or pays for the groceries or rent. People who are abusive sometimes act loving and supportive as a way to keep you in the relationship. A partner’s loving behavior does not make their abusive behavior OK. Forced sex and cruel or threatening words are forms of abuse.

 

  • Keeping track of everything you do

    • Monitoring what you’re doing all the time or asking where you are and who you’re with every second of the day

    • Demanding your passwords to social media sites and email accounts

    • Demanding that you reply right away to texts, emails, or calls

    • Preventing or discouraging you from seeing friends or family

    • Preventing or discouraging you from going to work or school

 

  • Being jealous, controlling, or angry

    • Acting very jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating

    • Having a quick temper, so you never know what you will do or say that may cause a problem

    • Controlling how you spend your money

    • Controlling your use of medicines or birth control

    • Making everyday decisions for you that you normally decide for yourself (like what to wear or eat)

 

  • Demeaning you

    • Putting you down, such as insulting your appearance, intelligence, or activities

    • Humiliating you in front of others

    • Destroying your property or things that you care about

    • Blaming you for his or her violent outbursts

 

  • Physically hurting or threatening to hurt you or loved ones

    • Threatening to hurt you, the children, or other people or pets in your household

    • Hurting you physically (such as hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)

    • Using (or threatening to use) a weapon against you

    • Threatening to harm himself or herself when upset with you

    • Threatening to turn you in to authorities for illegal activity if you report physical abuse

 

  • Forcing you to have sex or other intimate activity

    • Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to through physical force or threats

    • Assuming that consent for a sex act in the past means that you must participate in the same acts in the future

    • Assuming that consent for one activity means consent for future activity or increased levels of intimacy (for example, assuming that kissing should lead to sex every time)

 

 

Emotional Abuse 

 

Most people know what physical abuse is, but when it comes to emotional abuse, people tend to think there’s much more of a ‘grey area’.

They might know it has something to do with treating your partner badly – name calling or making them feel small – but not be clear on what’s actually classed as emotional abuse, or whether it’s really as serious as other types.

 

But if you’re on the receiving end, it can be just as damaging and upsetting – and this is reflected in the law. The Serious Crime Act 2015 makes behaviour that is ‘controlling or coercive” towards another person in an intimate or family relationship’ punishable by a prison term of up to five years.

 

 

What constitutes emotional abuse?

There are a variety of types of behaviour that could be classed as emotional abuse. These include:

 

  • Intimidation and threats. This could be things like shouting, acting aggressively or just generally making you feel scared. This is often done as a way of making a person feel small and stopping them from standing up for themselves.

  • Criticism. This could be things like namecalling or making lots of unpleasant or sarcastic comments. This can really lower a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

  • Undermining. This might include things like dismissing your opinion. It can also involve making you doubt your own opinion by acting as if you're being oversensitive if you do complain, disputing your version of events or by suddenly being really nice to you after being cruel. 

  • Being made to feel guilty. This can range from outright emotional blackmail (threats to kill oneself or lots of emotional outbursts) to sulking all the time or giving you the silent treatment as a way of manipulating you.

  • Economic abuse. This can be withholding money, not involving you in finances or even preventing you from getting a job. This could be done as a way of stopping you from feeling independent and that you’re able to make your own choices.

  • Telling you what you can and can’t do. As the examples above make clear, emotional abuse is generally about control. Sometimes this is explicit. Does your partner tell you when and where you can go out, or even stop you from seeing certain people? Do they try to control how you dress or how you style your hair?