The UK government’s definition of domestic violence is:
“any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional.”
Domestic abuse also includes female genital mutilation, honour based violence and forced marriage.
Domestic abuse can take many forms. Some people assume that if physical violence is not taking place in a relationship, then it is not classed as domestic abuse, but this is not the case. In December 2015, a new law was introduced in England and Wales, making control or co-ercive behaviour a criminal offence between intimate partners or family members.
So how do you know if a relationship is abusive and controlling?
Have a look at the list below - are any of them happening in your relationship?
- Does your partner constantly check your text messages, Facebook and social media? Do you hide messages from your friends for fear that your partner will be angry?
- Does your partner text you and want to know where you are at all times
- Are you dependent on your partner for money?
- Do they make you feel guilty for going out without them? Perhaps they create a crisis just as you are about to leave the house?
- Do you feel that the house has to be tidy when they come home from work and feel on edge before they arrive?
- Do you worry what mood they will be in when they come home?
- Do you play situations over in your head to prepare yourself to try and calm a situation before it happens?
- Do you think - "it's ok, it only happens because he/she was drunk/stressed/overworked" or "it was my fault, I made him/her angry"
- Do they expect sex on demand, even if you don't really want to?
- Do they dislike your friends and make you feel isolated?
- Do you your friends dislike them and you find yourself making excuses for your partner's behaviour?
- Do they emotionally blackmail you to get their own way? Do you give in for an easy life?
- Do you put off ending the relationship "because of the children"?
If you have answered yes to some or all of the questions, maybe you should talk to someone? Have a look at our CONTACT page for who you can talk to for advice and information.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone...
...in any family - regardless of class, age, culture, religion or sexuality. We are here to support all women and children and pride ourselves on our ability to support high risk victims from all backgrounds.
We have experience of dealing with complex honour based abuse, domestic abuse, forced marriage and cases where the risk is dangerously high for victims as they flee their relationship.
We are committed to professional multi-agency working with local and national agencies, a high level of safeguarding and are committed to making a difference to the lives of the families that suffer from domestic abuse.