What is Domestic Violence?

The Government defines domestic violence as "Any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called 'honour killings'.

The Haven Wolverhampton believes domestic violence is a violation of the human rights of women and children. It is a pattern of controlling behaviours whereby the abuser seeks power over their partner or family member and is rarely a one-off incident.

Domestic violence can take on many forms including:

  • Emotional Abuse: verbal torment in the form of name calling shouting / threatening / accusing / criticising; putting a person down in front of friends or other people; lying; jealous outbursts; refusing to commit ; breaking promises; pressure tactics; monitoring or blocking telephone calls; discouraging a person from seeing friends and family / dictating where a person can or can’t go / stalking; denial – saying the abuse doesn’t happen or that the abuse is the victims fault; behaving differently in private and public; promises that the abuse will never happen again.
  • Financial Abuse: restricting or controlling a person’s access to funds / withholding money / building significant amounts of debt in the name of the victim.
  • Physical Violence: hitting / kicking / biting / pushing / shoving / slapping / grabbing.
  • Sexual Violence: using threats or physical force to make a victim perform sexual acts without seeking consent. This also includes degrading or humiliating treatment based on a person’s sexual orientation.
  • Domestic Violence also includes forced marriage and so called ‘honour crimes’.

Domestic violence is a severe form of abuse. Even when the incidents of physical abuse seem minor, have only occurred once or twice within the relationship, or even when there has not been any physical violence. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse – if not more so. For more information about the effects of domestic violence please click here.

Domestic violence occurs across all of society regardless of age, ability, class, culture, economic status, ethnicity or lifestyle. Domestic violence can also occur in a range of relationships including heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships and in the extended family.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience domestic violence during the course of their lifetime. Sadly 2 women a week in the UK die as a result of domestic violence. For more domestic violence statistics please click here. An estimated one million children in the UK are thought to be affected by domestic violence, either as witnesses or becoming directly involved in violent incidents. For more information on the effects of domestic violence on children please click here.

Domestic violence does not just occur out of the blue, the victim is controlled and over time will become increasingly dependent on their abuser, both emotionally and financially, making it difficult to make sense of the situation they find themselves in. This can result in women experiencing a number of barriers to leaving a violent relationship. For more information on barriers please click here.

Whilst many victims feel they are to blame it is a common misunderstanding to assume that incidents of domestic violence are provoked or occur as a result of an irrational response to a turn of events. Those who perpetrate domestic violence choose to behave violently in order to gain control. Incidents of domestic violence are planned and premeditated. For more information on the causes of domestic violence please click here.

No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognise yourself or someone you know as being a victim of domestic violence don't hesitate to reach out. There is help available.

For more information, or to speak to someone in confidence, call The Haven Wolverhampton 24 Hour Helpline on 08000 194 400.


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