What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is an unacceptable crime which affects people from all social and economic backgrounds, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. It includes any action involving abuse between adult family members (including current and former partners). The abuse occurs when a person causes, attempts to cause, or threatens to cause emotional, sexual or physical harm to an intimate partner or other family member.
A pattern of coercive behaviour can form by an individual to establish and maintain power and control over another (as relationship defined above). This type of behaviour takes many forms, including physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, isolation and the selective destruction of property and pets.
It is also rarely a one-off event. It can escalate in frequency and severity over time. The majority of victims are women but domestic abuse happens to men as well.
The following information will provide an insight into abusive behaviour, and how these behaviours are defined.
Physical abuse is any behaviour which hurts or harms or is intended to do so.
Threats can be as debilitating as violence, especially when a victim has suffered physical abuse or other forms of abusive behaviour.
Sexual abuse can be defined as any sexual encounter without consent and includes any unwanted touching or forced sexual activity.
Emotional / psychological abuse is often more subtle. Quite often such abuse goes unseen, as even the victim does not recognise that he / she is being abused. Emotional abuse includes a variety of behaviours designed by the abuser to manipulate and undermine the victims self concept, therefore damaging the victim's self esteem.
Verbal abuse is not only defined by shouting or making threats. Verbal Abuse includes name calling, insulting you or your family, sarcasm, being blamed for the failures of the abuser or laughing and making fun inappropriately. Verbal abuse can also include withholding approval, appreciation or conversation and refusing to discuss issues that are important to you.
Isolation is often used by the abuser as a form of control. This may include monitoring where the victim is at any given time, and may also include cutting-off social / emotional supports from the victim.
Financial abuse can take many forms from denying access to funds, or making you solely responsible for all finances.
Stalking and harassment is behaviour that is repeated and unwanted by the victim. The behaviours may seem normal and ordinary, however, when they are repeated they can be menacing and cause alarm and distress to the victim.
Follow the link below to hear some of our Kent service's explain how they can support victims of Domestic Abuse.
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