What is domestic violence and abuse?

NDAS uses the Home Office view of domestic violence and abuse, which is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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”.

 

This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person inferior and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and abilities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

This definition also includes ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

The changes to the definition of domestic abuse raise awareness that young people in the 16 to 17 years age group can also be victims of domestic violence and abuse. By including this age group the government hopes to encourage young people to come forward and get the support they need, through a helpline or specialist service.

What are the signs of abuse?

These are common signs that domestic abuse is taking place:

Destructive criticism and verbal abuse:

  • Shouting
  • Mocking
  • Accusing
  • Name calling
  • Verbally threatening

Pressure tactics:

  • Sulking
  • Threatening to withhold money
  • Disconnect the phone
  • Take the car away
  • Commit suicide
  • Take the children away
  • Report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with their demands regarding the children
  • Lying to your friends and family about you
  • Telling you that you have no choice in any decisions

 Disrespect:

  • Persistently putting you down in front of other people
  • Not listening or responding when you talk
  • Interrupting your telephone calls
  • Taking money from you without asking
  • Refusing to help with childcare or housework

Breaking trust:

  • Lying to you
  • Withholding information from you
  • Being Jealous
  • Having other relationships
  • Breaking promises and shared agreements.

 Isolation:

  • Monitoring or blocking your telephone calls
  • Telling you where you can and cannot go
  • Preventing you from seeing friends and family

 Harassment:

  • Following you
  • Checking up on you
  • Opening your mail
  • Repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you
  • Embarrassing you in public 

Threats:

  • Making angry gestures
  • Using physical size to intimidate
  • Shouting at you
  • Destroying your possessions
  • Breaking things
  • Punching walls
  • Wielding a knife or a gun
  • Threatening to kill or harm you and/or the children or pets

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