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Essential Information

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic violence typically involves a pattern of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and intimidation which escalates over time. It can be understood as the misuse of power and exercise of control by one partner, usually a man over a woman, but occasionally by a woman over a man and also occurring amongst same sex couples. It has profound consequences in the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Statistics show that 97% of reported incidences of domestic abuse are perpetrated by men against women. 

What is the official definition?

The Government defines domestic violence as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”*

*This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group


What are the signs of domestic violence?

Physical abuse includes: Punching, slapping, kicking, cutting, scalding, pushing, pulling hair, using weapons, biting, pinching, starving, drowning, stabbing, murder

Verbal abuse includes: Shouting, mocking, name calling, verbal threats, disrespecting you alone or in public.

Emotional / psychological abuse includes: Isolation from friends and family, Monitoring phone calls, threatens you, your children, your family or pets, pressuring, threatens to report you to agencies if you do not comply with his demands, lying to friends and family about you, hiding things, lying about things he has said so you constantly question yourself.

Financial abuse includes: Withholding money, pressuring you take out loans you cannot afford to repay, preventing you from working, putting bills in your name, threating to make you homeless, forcing you to beg or commit crimes for money.

Sexual abuse includes: Rape, sexual assault, forcing you to do anything sexually that makes you feel uncomfortable, forcing you to have sex with other people, with holding sex or affection, calling you sexually derogatory names.


If you or a friend need help

The Live Fear Free Helpline is a bilingual information signposting service, to help and guide people with experience of domestic abuse or sexual violence, who are in need of information or access to support services.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, or are worried about a friend or relative who is experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence – then call the Live Fear Free Helpline for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
UK Freephone*: 0808 80 10 800

Alternatively for women living in Rhondda Cynon Taff you can contact Women’s Aid – RCT during office hours on 01443 400791 to seek advice and support. Or drop into our office in Pontypridd to speak to a support worker in a safe and comfortable environment. Women’s Aid – RCT have a number of projects to support the individual needs of you and your family.

© 2018 Women's Aid RCT. All rights reserved.