What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is a range of abusive behaviours which can happen in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or living together. The person on the receiving end of domestic violence can be male or female but where there is an adult intimate relationship, many more women than men are the victims.   It can also happen in gay or lesbian relationships.

Types of domestic abuse:

  • Physical abuse: examples of physical abuse include hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping and throwing objects at a partner - or threatening to do this.  Physical abuse is when one person in a relationship intimidates or stalks their partner, or causes financial abuse for example taking earnings away from their partner and only giving them enough to live on or putting the family in debt.  Psychological abuse is 'mind games', trying to make the person feel stupid or as if they are mentally ill.    
  • Emotional abuse is defined as any behaviour that threatens, intimidates, undermines the victim's self-worth or self-esteem, or controls the victim's freedom. This can include threatening the victim with injury or harm, telling the victim that they will be killed if they ever leave the relationship, and public humiliation. Constant criticism, name-calling, and making statements that damage the victim's self-esteem are also common verbal forms of emotional abuse.
  • Sexual abuse is any situation in which force or threat is used to obtain participation in unwanted sexual activity. Coercing a person to engage in sexual activity against their will, even if that person is a spouse or intimate partner with whom consensual sex has occurred, is an act of aggression and violence.
  • Verbal abuse may include aggressive actions such as name-calling, blaming, ridicule, disrespect, and criticism. There are also less obviously aggressive forms of verbal abuse. Statements that may seem benign on the surface can be thinly veiled attempts to humiliate, falsely accuse or manipulate others to submit to undesirable behaviour, make others feel unwanted and unloved.

There are many causes of domestic violence and some include: mental illness, economic issues, social stress, jealousy and psychological.

Domestic abuse is wrong. If it is happening to you, you are not to blame, please get help.

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