What is Domestic Abuse?
Physical abuse includes-
- Hitting, slapping, burning, kicking, strangulation, using a weapon such as a knife, all types of physical attacks, starvation.
Sexual abuse can include-
- Rape, enforced engagement in pornography, prostitution, enforced pregnancy, sexual humiliation, enforced sexual acts, withdrawal of contraception.
Mental and emotional abuse can include –
- Threats, you are made to feel worthless, called names, being isolated from friends and family, denied food, sleep and medical attention and not allowed to make choices or go out etc.
The abuser can be:
- a partner or ex-partner
- male or female.
The people who experience domestic abuse can be:
- male or female (including same sex relationships);
- not necessarily living with the abuser;
- of any age, including elderly people (those aged under 16 are victims of child abuse and social services should be contacted);
- of any race or religion;
- children or young people, even if they don’t witness it, they live with it.
Domestic abuse can happen in any home involving people of any age profession, nationality or religion. Domestic abuse is rarely an isolated incident but a way of controlling behaviour. The abuse may worsen over time, is often serious and, in some cases, fatal. No one wants or deserves to be abused.
Alcohol, drugs, unemployment, stress at work, poverty, you or your children’s behaviour, poor housing, health problems etc are used as excuses for the perpetrator’s behaviour – they are not the cause of domestic abuse. Some men feel powerless or inadequate in some way and to make themselves feel better they hurt, intimidate or control someone who is weaker than them.
A man who uses violence or abuse to make himself feel better is unlikely to change, however much he promises to without intensive, long term therapy. In fact the violence is likely to increase in frequency and seriousness the longer he gets away with it.
- One in four women will experience domestic abuse from a partner in her lifetime.
- 54% of cases reported to the police in 2007/08 involved repeat victimisation.
- Women were the victims in 85% of the reported incidents of domestic abuse in 2007/08.
- Women with limiting illness or disability are three times more likely to experience non-sexual family abuse than women who do not.
- One in seven women experiences rape in marriage.
- Up to 30% of men who assault their partners do so under the influence of alcohol.