Domestic abuse can affect anyone in any type of relationship. You should not feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed (although all of these feelings are very common). It is important to understand that domestic abuse is not just about physical violence. Psychological /emotional abuse is very damaging and it can be easy to minimise because the effects may not be as visible as with physical violence.
The UK Government's definition of domestic violence and abuse is - ‘Any incident or pattern of controlling, coercive or threating 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' (September 2012). This can encompass, but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
There is more detailed information on the emotional and psychological elements of domestic abuse below.
Recently, much attention has been given to the use of coercive control within abusive relationships. This refers to a pattern of behaviours used to take away a person's freedom to do day-to-day things and break down their sense of personhood. There are a number of tactics used to achieve this:
The experience of coercive control is closely linked to developing psychological problems. These might include anxiety and panic attacks, depression, obsessive-compulsive problems or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The resources on the right can help you think through your situation and keep you and your family safe.
Domestic Abuse Leaflet