What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are family members or those who are currently or have been intimate partners, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Domestic violence and abuse can occur within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels.
If you are experiencing abuse, or have done in the past, remember you are not to blame and there are people and organisations that can help you.
Domestic abuse can take many forms and include the following:
Emotional abuse can be used as a way to control you. This behaviour may start very small, and may lead to everyday behaviours that are hard to stop – this is still abuse.
There are lots of behaviours that constitute emotional abuse but some of these could include:
- Isolating you from your family and friends, making you feel guilty for spending time with them or becoming angry
- Verbal abuse, repeatedly putting you down such and telling you your worthless
- Threatening to spread rumours about you
- Saying things like ‘If you loved me you would…’
- Threatening to harm or kill themselves if you do something, or leave
- Demanding to know where you are all the time
- Stopping you from having a phone, monitoring your phone or emails and becoming aggressive you do not respond
- Making you feel confused, such as hiding your personal belongings or agreeing to something and then saying it never happened
- Controlling you, e.g telling you what to wear, how to do your hair or what you say:
Financial Abuse is a form of domestic abuse. Your partner, ex-partner or family member may stop you from having control over your money as a way of exerting power over you. Financial abuse can be difficult to stop, as some of these behaviours may appear over time or feel natural in an intimate relationship. If you feel like you do not have control over your money, or isolated due to having not access to money you may be experiencing financial abuse. Other signs include:
- Stopping you from getting a job
- Stopping you from keeping a job, such as making you late for work
- Making you hand over your wages or benefits
- Making you pay your wages or benefits directly into a ‘shared’ or their bank account
- Asking you for money, stealing, taking or demanding money
- Checking your account for money you have spent and asking you to show receipts
- Not allowing you to spend money on yourself or your children
- Controlling your bank account
- Running up debts in your name
- Forcing you to open loans in your name
- Forcing you to have joint benefit claims, such as joint housing benefit claims
Physical abuse may include physical assault, but someone may threaten to hurt you which can be used to control you. Examples of physical abuse could include:
- Isolation and imprisonment, such as locking you in your home
- Hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, pushing
- Holding someone down
- Force feeding and/or withholding food
- Strangulation or choking
- Threatening to hurt you or those close to you
- Spitting at you
- Throwing items or objects at your
- Using weapons to hurt you
Sexual abuse in an intimate relationship may include:
- Pressure to have sex or complete sexual behaviours that you are not comfortable with
- Controlling what you wear
- Being sent sexual images via email, social media or phone (‘sexting’) or being asked to send sexual images when you do not want to
- Being forced to watch other people have sex.
- Being forced to make or watch pornography
Honour based violence is abuse or violence which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of a family or community. It is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture. For more information on Honour Based Violence and where to get help click here.
Below are some of the things you might hear about if you or someone you know is receiving help as a result of Domestic Abuse:
An IDVA supports someone who is experiencing Domestic Abuse and can advocate on their behalf. An IDVA can provide support in many ways, such as helping with housing or debt as well as helping to keep the person and their family safe. An IDVA will provide specialist advice regarding domestic abuse and will work with the victim to provide a safety and support plan. An IDVA communicates with all other agencies involved with the victim, such as the police or Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that their needs are being met.
Refuge provide a safe place for victims of domestic abuse and their children when they feel it is no longer safe for them to remain in their own home. Refuges not only offer accommodation, but trained staff that can support the victim and their children whilst they are residing in the refuge. Local areas provide different types of refuge, but mainly refuge will provide a bedroom for each victim and their children and shared communal facilities such as bathroom and kitchen. The length of stay in refuge can be up to 12 months, during which time a support worker will help find the victim a new permanent accommodation in a safe location.
A Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) is an order applied for by the police and made by the Magistrates’ Court. DVPOs can be issued where there isn’t enough evidence to charge someone with domestic abuse but it is clear the victim requires protection. The DVPO can prevent the perpetrator from returning to the victim’s home and from having contact with the victim for 28 days. The 28 days allows the victim time to consider their options with help from supporting agencies.
If you would like to apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order you can contact 101 for more information or speak to your local Victim Focus Team.
Clare’s Law is a disclosure scheme that aims to help to keep people safe from domestic abuse. It enables you to contact your local Police Force to make enquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past. If police checks show that your partner has a record of abusive behaviour, or there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner, the police will consider sharing this information with you. Sharing this information aims to help you make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship, and provides further help and support to assist you when you are making that choice.
You can make an application about your partner if you have a concern that they may harm you or you are a concerned third party, such as a parent or friend. You can contact 101 to make an application for the Clare’s Law disclosure scheme, alternatively you can visit you closest police station.
How to get help
If you are in immediate danger call the police by dialling 999. If you would like to speak to a police officer but it isn’t urgent then you can call 101.
You can access specialist help through a Victim Focus officer or you can contact one of the services listed below directly. Please click here to find out more about your local Victim Focus Team and how to contact them
- 24 Hour Live Fear Free Helpline
If you are experiencing abuse by your partner, ex-partner or family member and need advice you can contact the 24 Hour Live Fear Free Helpline 0808 8010 800 Email: email@example.com
- BAWSO – http://www.bawso.org.uk/
Bawso is an all Wales Support Provider, delivering specialist services to people from Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) backgrounds who are affected by domestic abuse and other forms of abuse, including Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Human Trafficking & Prostitution. Bawso provide support, advice and information from their offices in Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea.
Contact the 24 hour helpline: 08007318147 or contact their regional Offices:
Cardiff 029 20644 633 (Clarence House, Clarence Road, Butetown, Cardiff CF10 5FB)
Merthyr Tydfil 01685375394 (Teulu MAC47 – 48 Pontmorlais West Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8UN)
Swansea 01792 642 003 (63 Mansel Street Swansea SA1 5TN)
- Dyn Project – http://www.dynwales.org/
The Safer Wales Dyn project provides support to Heterosexual, Gay, Bisexual and Trans men who are experiencing Domestic abuse from a partner.
Tel:0808 801 0321 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rainbow Bridge – http://www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk/rainbow-bridge/
Rainbow Bridge is a Victim Support run service that specifically supports victims of domestic abuse who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
- Swansea Women’s Aid – http://swanseawomensaid.com/ – (01792) 644683
- Port Talbot and Afan Women’s Aid –http://www.ptwa.org.uk/contact – (01639) 894 864
- Cardiff Women’s Aid – http://www.cardiffwomensaid.org.uk – (02920) 460 566
- Rhondda Cynon Taf Women’s Aid – http://www.wa-rct.org.uk/ – (01443) 400 791
- Calan DVS – http://www.calandvs.org.uk/contact-us – (01656) 766139
- Neath Port Talbot Domestic Abuse Hub – . http://www.calandvs.org.uk/we-can-help/one-stop-shop – (01639) 622 350
- Safer Merthyr Tydfil – http://www.smt.org.uk/contact-us/ – (01685) 353 999
- Atal Y Fro – http://www.atalyfro.org – (01446) 744755