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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any abusive behaviour used by one individual to control and/or dominate another person with whom there is or has been a close relationship

The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, verbal, or financial. It might be a combination of one, some, or all of these elements. Domestic abuse occurs irrespective of gender, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, mental ability, physical ability, income, lifestyle or geographical area of residence. Abusers use different tactics to exert power and control:

Violence

Physical or sexual: punching; slapping; spitting; kicking; burning; sexual assault; rape.

Isolation

Won’t let you see family or friends, or sulks and creates arguments when you do; makes you or persuades you to move away from family and friends.

Verbal Abuse

Calls you names; tells you you’re fat/stupid/worthless; attacks your self-esteem.

Bullying

Shouting; breaking things; using physical presence to intimidate you; sulking; constant questioning; humiliating you in front of others.

Financial Control

Keeps you short of money by spending it, hiding it, or preventing you from working; keeps you dependent.

Using Children

Tells you you’re a bad mother; spoils the children but won’t discipline them; forces you to get pregnant; threatens to hurt the children.

Blame

Tells you the abuse is your fault: that if you were different the abuse would stop; you nag too much; you don’t keep the house tidy; you wind them up.

Repression

Tells you that you have no rights; that no-one will believe you; that it is a private matter so no-one will help you; that it is not really abuse.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a 24 hour service and, although you need credit on your mobile to dial the number, the call is free.

If you need to speak to someone at any time, please call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 8010800

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