Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined across Government as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality. The Government’s definition of abuse is published in the Domestic Abuse Bill 2020.
What are the types of abuse?
‘Domestic abuse’ covers a range of types of abuse, including, but not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. ‘Domestic abuse’ can be prosecuted under a range of offences and the term is used to describe a range of controlling and coercive behaviours, used by one person to maintain control over another. It is usually perpetrated by the person’s partner but can also be committed by a family member or carer. It can happen at any time during a relationship, even after a couple is split.
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and is the cumulative and interlinked types of abuse that have a particularly damaging effect on the victim. The ‘domestic’ nature of the offending behaviour is an aggravating factor because of the abuse of trust involved. Anyone forced to change their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner or ex-partner’s reaction is experiencing abuse.
Who faces abuse?
Men, women and children can all be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse occurs amongst people of all ethnicities, sexualities, ages, disabilities, immigration status, religions or beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recognises domestic abuse differs in severity between incidents, and more often than not, will increase in frequency and seriousness, having a cumulative impact on the victim/complainant. The 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.
Spotting the signs?
If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:
Is the partner jealous and possessive?
Is the partner charming one minute and abusive the next?
Do they tell the individual what to wear, where to go, who to see?
Do they play mind games and make the person doubt their judgment?
Do they control the money?
Do they apply pressure the person to have sex when they don’t want to?
Do they use anger and intimidation to frighten and control the person?
Do they monitor technology use such as social media platforms?
Does the individual appear withdrawn?
Do they have bruises?
Are their movements or activities restricted, i.e. not being allowed to leave the house, meet with friends?
For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. You or they are not alone. If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong. They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.
Women’s Aid also host a directory of local domestic abuse services: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/
Rape Crisis National Helpline (12-12.30pm and 7-9.30pm each day) – 08088 029 999 https://rapecrisis.org.uk/ (England and Wales)
Rape Crisis Scotland - (6pm to midnight) – 08088 010302
Men’s Advice Line – 0808801 0327
A Dedicated Voice for Inclusive Collaboration by Everyone (A.D.V.I.C.E) is an official health and wellbeing scheme, comprised of contractors, principal contractors and clients within the rail and construction industries. Companies include: Barhale, Bovis Homes, Ciras, Colas Rail, Ganymede, McGinley Support Services, Midland Metro Alliance, Network Rail, RSS Infrastructure, Transport for Wales, Van-Elle Limited and Vital Human Resources.
Ganymede is proud to part of this initiative and bring positive change to health, safety and wellbeing throughout the industries by providing guidance and advice to all those that work in the rail and construction industries.