Many people think that domestic abuse means physical violence. This sometimes leads to women not seeking help. Domestic abuse is when one person controls another in an intimate relationship. The controlling behaviour forms a pattern, rather than being a one-off incident.
What is domestic abuse?
The definition of domestic abuse is as follows:
'Domestic abuse (as gender-based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex-partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviours), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against their will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse (such as threats, verbal abuse, withholding money and other types of controlling behaviour such as isolation from family or friends).
Some signs of domestic abuse include:
- Constant criticism
- Physical violence
- Sexual abuse
- Isolation from family and friends
What are the effects of domestic abuse?
Health – Common health effects of domestic abuse include physical injury, poor health and mental health problems including anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug dependencies.
Employment – Sometimes someone who is experiencing domestic abuse is not allowed to work by their partner. If the victim does have a job they may have a very poor work record as they don’t want to attend with bruises and swelling. They also may find it hard to concentrate as a result of emotional abuse.
Money – Someone who is experiencing domestic abuse is sometimes given no access to money of their own by their partner and kept in the dark about household finances. If they do have access to money they may have to account for what they spend.
Homelessness – Sometimes the only way to stop the abuse is to move out of the home. Women’s Aid can offer temporary accommodation. An application can also be made to Homelessness Services within Inverclyde Council.
Children and Young People - Domestic abuse also affects children and young people. Further information on the effects of domestic abuse and services that can help with these issues can be found in the Related Links section of this page.