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Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

Within any relationship, there are ups and downs – people say and do things to each other that are hurtful, however, there’s a difference between a normal argument and abusive, fighting and threatening behaviour, this is domestic violence or abuse.

There are a number of definitions and the Government defines domestic violence as: ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults 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’.

Types of abuse

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour that includes emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. It’s about using power and control over the other person. Domestic violence generally doesn't happen just once, over time it tends to happen more often and becomes more serious and severe.

Domestic violence doesn’t always have to be physical; it often also includes emotional, financial and sexual abuse. Many of these behaviours are crimes. Abuse is not an accident – it is behaviour that is done on purpose to control and intimidate the other person. The impact on the abused person can be devastating – physical injury, psychological injury, depression, living in constant fear, self-harming.

  • Physical abuse- e.g. hitting, punching, burning, strangling, slapping, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving.

  • Sexual abuse- e.g. forcing unwanted sexual acts, including rape, 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. 

  • Emotional abuse - e.g. constant criticism, insults, undermining capabilities. 

  • Isolation - e.g. preventing someone from having or developing family, social or professional relationships, preventing from working, monitoring or blocking your telephone calls. 

  • Financial abuse - e.g. withholding money, making a person account for every penny they spend, taking your money without asking. 

  • Threats - e.g. 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.

Domestic abuse is often a combination of several, if not all of the above.

The facts:

  • More than half a million incidents (635,000) of domestic violence are reported in England and Wales each year. Most victims are women, but domestic violence can happen to men too
  • In nine out of ten cases, children are in the same or next room when the violence is going on

  • In five out of ten cases when there is violence between adults, children get hurt too

  • One in four women experience domestic violence some time in their lives. Between six per cent and ten per cent of women experience domestic violence in any one year

  • Almost 2,000 children a year contact ChildLine due to domestic violence problems

Where can I get help?

Domestic abuse can happen in any family and in all kinds of homes. In half of the cases of physical abuse between adults, children get hurt too. Even when children do not see the abuse happening, they often hear it. In nine out of ten cases, children are in the same or next room when the abuse is going on. This can be extremely distressing and disturbing for them and can cause lasting emotional harm.

Below is a range of new publications which all staff should be aware of and consider in their work with children, families and adults.

Responding to Domestic Abuse Guidance Document March 2017

CAADA_DASH Risk Identification Checklist (Young Peoples version)

Download Related Documents:

What is Coercive Control PDF
What is Coercive Control PDF

Risk Indicator Checklist
Risk Indicator Checklist

Responding to Domestic Abuse April 2014
Responding to Domestic Abuse April 2014

Toolkit MARAC April 2014
Toolkit MARAC April 2014

DA and Substance Misuse Handbook 2014
DA and Substance Misuse Handbook 2014

Keeping Safe - Tips for working with families affected by Domestic Abuse
Keeping Safe - Tips for working with families affected by Domestic Abuse


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