What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is an action by one person towards another in a domestic setting, involving an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse no matter their age, economic status, culture or religion. Abuse is destructive, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake, playing havoc with mind and emotions. Types of abuse include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
- Psychological and/or emotional abuse
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Harassment and stalking
- Online or digital abuse
Women are more likely than men to experience multiple incidents of abuse, different types of domestic abuse (intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular sexual violence.
It is a myth to think that anger, alcohol, substance abuse or stress are reasons for abuse. It is a myth to think abuse only happens where there is poverty and deprivation. It is a myth to think that if abuse was that bad you can simply walk away. It is wrong to think that abuse is deserved. Domestic abuse is about power and control. Abuse is never right and it’s never your fault. It is the choice of the abuser.
If you are experiencing abuse please do not stay silent about it. Abuse is not normal or acceptable and it’s never okay. Help and support is readily available. Talk to us – to someone you trust – there’s a 24 hour helpline 0808 2000 247 – if you’re at risk call 999.