It can also include financial control, belittling someone, isolating them from their friends and family, making threats to children or pets, controlling who they see or what they do or sexual violence. Living with domestic abuse can cause long term emotional as well as physical harm.
Despite the fact that domestic abuse is common, it is under-reported. Some people may not be aware that what is happening to them is domestic abuse and some people do not tell anyone because they feel ashamed or that in some way it is their fault but this is never the case. If you are being abused, you are not alone, and it is not your fault.
Most victims of domestic abuse are women and girls, but men and boys can also be subjected to abuse. Abuse happens in heterosexual and same sex relationships and often continues when a relationship has ended. It can also happen between family members over the age of 16.
It’s estimated that at least 1 in 3 women and up to 1 in 9 men have been subject to domestic abuse. Studies also show that young women, disabled women and lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are most at risk of experiencing abuse in their relationships.
Everyone’s experience of abuse will be different, but we recognise that society does not treat everyone equally and that there are multiple forms of discrimination that some people can face which will impact on their experience. When we support a victim or survivor, we listen to them and treat them as an individual with their own unique experiences.
“I didn’t know where to begin but working with my IDAS Worker changed all that. I regained my strength and faith in myself and was able to leave my abuser.”
Coercive control is designed to instill fear. It is a pattern of behaviour that includes threats, humiliation and intimidation to harm, punish, or frighten someone and it is now a criminal offence.
Coercive control is also to make someone dependent on the abuser.
Examples of coercive control include:
Emotional or psychological abuse is the most common form of abuse and can cause lasting harm.
Psychological and emotional abuse is also when someone deliberately used words or acts in a way to hurt, frighten, belittle or undermine a person. The abuser may also try and confuse their victim and make them feel as though they are losing their mind. This is known as “Gaslighting”.
Some examples of psychological or emotional abuse include:
Physical abuse is any type of physical violence or force, including pushing or shoving.
Physical abuse can escalate over time and can result in serious injury and even death. Every 3 days a woman is murdered by her partner or ex-partner.
Examples of physical abuse include:
Abusive partners exert control and often do so by controlling a person’s ability to have financial or economic autonomy.
Financial abuse is now recognised as a form of abuse, whether there is any other emotional, physical or sexual abuse or not.
Some examples of financial abuse may include:
Stalking is a pattern of incidents and unwanted attention that make you feel scared.
It may be from a current or ex-partner, someone who wants to be romantically involved with you, or someone you know as a neighbour, work colleague or friend.
Each incident in isolation can appear to be innocent and even romantic; for example, someone may send you flowers or a love letter, but if this is unwanted and is part of a persistent pattern of behaviour that you find upsetting, then it is defined as stalking.
It is important to trust your instincts if this is happening to you; if it doesn’t feel right or makes you feel scared, then you should report it to the Police.
Stalking is a criminal offence and examples of stalking include:
If you are worried or concerned you are being stalked you can call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or National Stalking Advisory Service on 020 3866 4107
This is when you face physical, emotional or psychological pressure to marry someone you don’t want to.
The pressure to marry usually comes from family members and sometimes both people are pressured or forced to marry. Forced marriage is illegal.
Forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage when both people have a choice of whether they marry or not.
Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse and abusers, usually family members, may use the following tactics:
Forced marriages are often organised by parents, family members or religious leaders. Those who do not comply with the forced marriage, can face so-called ‘honour’ abuse which can result in murder.
FGM means cutting, piercing, removing or sewing closed any part of a girl’s or woman’s genitals with no medical reason.
FGM usually involves parents or other relatives performing the violation or giving permission for someone else to do so and can therefore be considered a form of domestic abuse.
FGM is illegal, has no health benefits and can often result in long-term health problems.
To read more about FGM visit our sexual violence website.
What are the warning signs if you suspect your partner may be abusive?
What should you expect and deserve from a relationship?
Questions about domestic abuse that we get asked the most.
Take our quiz to see if you may be in an abusive relationship.
IDAS is the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.