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Domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse?

by Guy Murphy

Following White Ribbon Day on Saturday 25 November, Knowsley Council continues to raise awareness of the support available to Knowsley residents who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Here we share information about what domestic abuse is, giving you the knowledge to understand the forms it can come in. Knowsley’s Council’s specialist Domestic Abuse Team want to remind people that domestic abuse is not just violence it is:

Any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are personally connected, |(are or have been intimate partners (married or unmarried) or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 sets out a statutory definition of domestic abuse and a broad

range of behaviours which may constituent domestic abuse and it identifies children impacted upon by domestic abuse as victims. The Act defines the following behaviours as “abusive”, if it consists of:

  • physical or sexual abuse;
  • violent or threatening behaviour;
  • controlling or coercive behaviour;
  • economic abuse (see subsection (4));
  • psychological, emotional or other abuse;

and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a continued pattern of behaviour/

Honour-based Abuse” (HBA) is a term used for abuse committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and/or a community against a victim who is believed to have done something to bring shame to the family or community. But there is not currently a statutory definition. The Crown Prosecution Service [1] has adopted the following definition: ‘an incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and / or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and / or communities’ code of behaviour’.You can find out more about this kind of abuse on the Savera UK website – www.saverauk.co.uk/ – and like this webpage, there is a quick exit button if you need to leave the site quickly.

What is coercive 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 the victim. It is a criminal offence for an individual to use coercive or controlling behaviour against a family member or someone they are in an intimate relationship with.

What is controlling behaviour?

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person feel small 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.

Are you in a controlling relationship?

If you’re not sure if you are experiencing domestic abuse ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can you wear what you want?
  2. Can you be friends with who you like?
  3. Can see your family/friends whenever you want?
  4. Can you say ‘no’ to his/her requests – with no consequences?
  5. Can you laugh at them/can they laugh at themselves?
  6. Can you change your mind/plans at the last minute with no consequences?
  7. Is your opinion valued and respected?
  8. Are you encouraged to fulfil your potential in a positive way?
  9. Are you encouraged and supported to work or study?
  10. Has your night out ever been ruined by his/her actions, comments or behaviour before or during the night out?
  11. Do they talk about other people he “could have” or imply it – making you feel insecure or lucky to have them?
  12. Do they sulk for a day or more?
  13. Have they told you they had an ex-partner who hurt them so badly it’s hard for them to trust someone?
  14. Do they ever refer to their ex-partner/s as their psycho ex’?
  15. Did they not do well at school because of their parents or teachers?
  16. Do they believe everyone is against them?
  17. Do they see himself as a victim?
  18. Is everything always someone else’s fault?
  19. Are they only happy if you are ‘good’?
  20. Do you feel responsible for their moods or happiness?
  21. Do they call you names or put you down (in public or private)?
  22. Do you pay for everything?

If you answered mostly ‘No’ for 1 – 9 and ‘Yes’ for 10 – 22 perhaps you are experiencing domestic abuse.

Where can I turn for help?

If you, your child, or anyone in the family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, call 999. If you are not at immediate risk but are concerned, please contact one of the services listed below:

Knowsley Council Safer Communities Service (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
Tel: 0151 443 2610


Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Tel: 0151 443 2600

The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)

Tel: 0151 548 3333

Website: www.thefirststep.org.uk

Savera UK

Helpline 0800 107 0726


Support is also available through:

  • National Domestic violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
  • Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
  • LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428
  • Women’s Aid – Live chat to Women’s Aid