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What are the effects of domestic abuse?

The effects of domestic abuse vary from person to person and depend on each individual’s experience. The effects can become worse over time and they can take a long time to recover from.

Emotional: The most common feature of living in an abusive relationship is suffering emotional or psychological abuse. The effects of this are extremely harmful.

Emotional abuse includes name calling, being constantly put down, having someone control what you do or what you wear, being isolated from friends and family, making you feel you are responsible for the abuse, criticising parenting, threatening family or friends, or making unreasonable demands.

Experiencing some or all of these things will have an effect on self-esteem and confidence levels, cause depression and feelings of worthlessness and can lead to eating disorders or psychosomatic illnesses.

Physical: Some people who are living in abusive relationships will never or rarely be victims of physical violence and some will experience it regularly. Many people who experience physical violence live with painful injuries that go undiagnosed and sometimes they are prevented from seeking medical help. Research also shows that physical violence can escalate in a relationship. In extreme cases physical violence can lead to murder - two women a week are killed by a current or ex partner.

It is important to remember that physical violence is only one indicator of domestic abuse and may not be the main feature of the abusive relationship.

Sexual: For many people living in a violent relationship, sexual abuse occurs on an occasional or regular basis. This can include rape, putting pressure on you to take part in things you don’t feel comfortable with and/or forcing you to have sex with other people. This can increase the chances of you contracting a sexually transmitted illness, cause physical injury and has serious emotional effects.

Other effects of living with domestic abuse can include suffering financial hardship, losing employment and potential homelessness.

You can watch a video about the effects of domestic abuse here.

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