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Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is any abuse that happens in a family, or in a personal relationship with a current or former partner. Most domestic and sexual abuse is committed by men against their female partners or ex-partners, but it can also involve women abusing male partners, young people abusing family members, abuse in same sex relationships, and issues of forced marriage or 'honour' based violence. The Government extended the definition in 2013 to include 16-17 year olds experiencing intimate partner abuse, and to recognise patterns of behaviour as 'coercive control' - regardless of whether there is physical violence.

Domestic abuse can involve a whole range of behaviours designed to control and dominate someone, such as:

  • Physical abuse - e.g. hitting, punching, kicking, biting, burning, choking or any other physical violence.
  • Emotional abuse - constant criticism, threats to you, your children or your family, putting you down in front of others, lying, cheating. Emotional abuse may not seem as 'serious' as other forms of abuse but it sometimes has the biggest impact.
  • Sexual abuse - doing or saying things of a sexual nature that make you feel uncomfortable, or that physically hurt you or someone else.
  • Financial abuse - not allowing you money, spending food money, running up debts in your name.
  • Isolation - monitoring or blocking phone calls, preventing you from seeing friends & relatives.
  • Harrassment - following & checking up on you, embarrassing you in public, obsessive jealousy, using social media to stalk and harass you.
  • Denial - saying the abuse didn’t happen, or you caused it, being 'charming' in public, begging forgiveness, saying it will never happen again - until the next time.

For more detailed information about domestic and sexual abuse visit the Sheffield DACT website or national Women's Aid.