What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. This can include forced marriage and ‘honour crimes’.
Domestic violence is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Any woman can experience domestic violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. Domestic violence is very common – research shows that it can affect one in four women in their lifetimes. Domestic violence can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.
Domestic violence is repetitive, life-threatening, and can destroy the lives of women and children.
Use the FAQ’s below to assist you in understanding how domestic violence is defined. Click on one of the questions below to open the detail.
How do I know if I am experiencing domestic violence?
This list explains some of the ways in which a partner can be abusive and can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship:
- Physical violence – punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling.
- Verbal abuse – shouting, mocking, accusing, name calling, verbally threatening.
- Sexual violence – using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
- Isolation – monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
- 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 you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
- Disrespect – persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework.
- Pressure tactics – sulking, threatening to withhold money/disconnect the telephone/take the car away/commit suicide/take the children away/report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
- Breaking trust – lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements.
- Denial – saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying you caused the abusive Behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, promising it will never happen again.Physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any kind is never okay and not your fault.
Who are the abusers?
Who is responsible for the violence?
Children will also often feel responsible for the violence and it is important to let them know that the violence is not their fault.
What can I do if I am experiencing domestic violence?
Where to start:
- Realise that no-one has the right to hurt you
- Recognise that you are not to blame
- Think about who can help and support you
- Speak to someone you can trust
What help is available?
Everyone has the right to live free from abuse and fear. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may feel humiliated, frightened, ashamed, alone and confused.
Please know that you are not to blame and you are not alone.
If you live in the High Wycombe, South Bucks or Chiltern Districts of Buckinghamshire you can contact Wycombe Women’s Aid on 01494 461367 for practical and emotional support, advocacy, information and to find out about your choices. You do not have to give your name.
You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for information and support. You could also begin to plan how you would respond in a crisis to help keep you and your children safe. If it is safe and practical for you, you could store emergency clothes, money, special children’s toys, important documents, addresses, telephone numbers and duplicate car keys with someone you can trust. Plan how to contact emergency help at any time.
Whether or not you decide to leave your abuser, Wycombe Women’s Aid or the National Domestic Violence Helpline can help you plan how to leave in an emergency and to find a place of safety. If you decide to move away by yourself, make sure it is safe and that you cannot be traced straightaway.
Wycombe Women's Aid P.O. Box 1477 High Wycombe Bucks HP11 9HP Registered Charity No. 299946 Registered Company No. 2245478 ©2016 Wycombe Women's Aid
Refuge: 01494 461367 Outreach: 07890 456907 IDVA: 07483 159153
Asian Women's Helpline: 01494 446366