SEXUAL ABUSE – for example non-consensual, unwanted sexual activity – (forcing or pressuring someone to have sexual intercourse is rape) touching, groping, being forced to watch pornographic material or participate in it, being forced or blackmailed into sexual acts with other people; forcing children to watch sexual acts; sexual name-calling; imposition of dress codes upon a partner; involvement in the sex trade, sex trafficking. The most important bit to remember is that being pressured or forced to have sex when you don’t want to is a crime.
We have been made aware through the press and news coverage of cases of child abuse. The abuse of children is particularly abhorrent. It can be as much about a lack of love and affection and care as it can be about physical or sexual abuse and we list here some of the acts committed against children that constitute child abuse.
Domestic abuse – witnessing domestic abuse as a child is child abuse and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships
Neglect – when parents or carers withhold basic needs – such as food, warmth, safety from harm etc.
Emotional (sometimes called psychological abuse) – put downs, name calling, shaming children, using children to get or give information to other parent. Emotional maltreatment can lead to serious harm and affect children in their development and as they grow up.
Economic – squandering family money, withholding child support, using money to control behaviour, using children as an economic bargaining chip in divorce
Intimidation – instilling fear through looks, actions, gestures, yelling, property destruction, being violent to other parent or pets etc. – bullying (including cyber bullying)
Isolation – controlling access to peers/adults/siblings, other parent, grandparents
Using adult privilege – treating children as servants, denying input in visitation and custody decisions
Threats – threatening abandonment, suicide, physical harm, or harm to other loved ones.
Sexual abuse – being forced to or persuaded to take part in sexual activities, including on line. (It is beginning to be acknowledged that childhood sexual abuse happens far more frequently than most people believed, or previously wanted to believe. Around 65% of women that contact rape crisis centres are adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse).
Harmful sexual behaviour – children and young people who develop this behaviour harm themselves and others
Trafficking – children recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold
Grooming – children and young people targeted for emotional connection either on line or in person or in groups – either by/through someone they know or complete strangers – for the purpose of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking
FGM – the removal/part removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons
COERCIVE CONTROL – takes place within an intimate personal relationship and is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used by the abuser to harm, punish, or frighten the victim, exploiting, regulating and redirecting the victim’s life to gain all the privileges, freedom and rights, leaving the victim with none.
It can involve emotional abuse, continual monitoring, stalking, sexual coerciveness and control of pregnancy, economic abuse, isolation from sources of support, violence, intimidation and threats of violence against people, pets, property.
It is a criminal offence in England and Wales for someone to subject you to coercive control.
The new offence, which does not have retrospective effect, came into force on 29 December 2015.
In most cases the perpetrator will act differently towards others and give no indication of their behaviours demonstrated ‘behind closed doors’. They can be clever, convincing and persuasive in order to avoid detection.
We offer one to one emotional support, either face to face or via the telephone. Sharing your experience can be quite overwhelming so we know how important it is to provide that personal connection. We listen, with no pressure or expectation being made to follow any advice that we give. We are able to help with safety planning and look at the issues raised in each individual situation and identify and assess risk. Each and every individual matters and will be given the appropriate support necessary to help meet their needs.
PHYSICAL ABUSE – for example pushing, hitting, punching, choking, kicking, biting, spitting, burning and using weapons, restraining; giving too much medication or the wrong medication; assault with everyday implements such as kitchen knives; smashing someone’s possessions; imprisoning them; or forcing them to use illegal drugs as a way of blackmailing and controlling them. Female Genital Mutilation.
This type of abuse is an intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person. Incidents of violence may vary in severity and harm. The cycle of abuse involves an increase in tension in the relationship, leading to an ‘incident’, followed by the abuser’s desire to reconcile and maybe with an apology and a promise never to lash out again and there is then a time of calm or the ‘honeymoon’ period. Sadly however, this pattern keeps on repeating with the victim put at risk of serious harm or worse.
SEXUAL ABUSE – for example rape including marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner, being forced to participate in sexual acts including looking at sexual material.
Sexual abuse is any behaviour of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding. Various forms of force may be used – physical, psychological or emotional coercion, manipulation and threats of harm, intimidation to make the victim comply (compliance is NOT consent) and which can also take place online.
Domestic ‘violence’ is often but wrongly thought of as physical abuse. Violence comes from the word violate. Abuse is the mis-use of something in a harmful way.
HONOUR BASED VIOLENCE – when an incident or a crime has been committed in order to defend the ‘honour’ of a family or a community. These incidents are used as a means of controlling activity and behaviour within families and communities because of the ‘shame’ that is brought when an individual does not comply with beliefs or practices.