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Domestic abuse, also referred to as 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. These behaviours are used by one person, often repeatedly, to maintain control over another. Everyone has arguments and disagreements with family members, partners and others close to them from time to time, and we all do things that cause unhappiness and regret. If this begins to form a consistent pattern, then this may be an indication of domestic abuse.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexuality, or background.
Forms of the abuse are typically, but not exclusively:
Some examples of domestic abuse include:
- isolating you from your family and friends
- hurting or threatening to hurt you physically
- putting you down in front of other people
- constant name-calling, mocking, intimidation, and making humiliating remarks and gestures
- taking control of your finances
- running up debts in your name
- taking control of what you wear or who you see
- tracking your movements and monitoring your phone calls through the internet or mobile phone without your consent
- someone using the power of their position to persuade you into a sexual relationship
- using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, or having sex when you don’t want to
Traditional practices such as honour based violence , female genital mutilation (FGM), and forced marriage are also considered forms of domestic abuse.
The role of power in domestic abuse
Often people may not realise that they are experiencing domestic abuse. A more detailed account to help identify domestic abuse and a simple explanation of the role of power and control in this has been produced by United Nations
Myths around domestic abuse towards women
There are many myths around domestic abuse towards women and its causes, which the charity ‘Women’s aid’ actively challenge. More information about these is available from the national charity ‘Women’s aid’ here
Both Women's aid and Citizens Advice also provide more detailed definitions for domestic abuse and further information
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