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What is Domestic Abuse?

by Gemma Melling

What is domestic abuse?

Knowsley Council’s specialist Domestic Abuse Team define Domestic Violence and Abuse as:

“Any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

The abuse can include, but is not limited to:

  • Coercive Control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence).
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse.
  • Physical or sexual abuse.
  • Financial or economic abuse.
  • Harassment and stalking.
  • Online or digital abuse.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called “honour” based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

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.

More information about Knowsley’s support for victim/survivors of Domestic Abuse is available on Knowsley News.

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 him / can he laugh at himself?
  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 actions, comments or behaviour before or during the night out?
  11. Does he talk about other women he “could have” or imply it – making you feel insecure or lucky to have him?
  12. Does he sulk for a day or more?
  13. Has he told you he had an ex-girlfriend who hurt him so badly it’s hard for him to trust any woman?
  14. Does he ever refer to his ex-girlfriend/s as ‘his psycho ex’?
  15. Did he not do well at school because of his parents or teachers?
  16. Does he believe everyone is against him?
  17. Does he see himself as a victim?
  18. Is everything always someone else’s fault?
  19. Is he only happy if you are ‘good’?
  20. Do you feel responsible for his moods or happiness?
  21. Does he 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?

In an emergency, always dial 999 but further independent help and support is 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