What is Abuse?

Domestic abuse is defined as; physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse that usually takes place within the home, and is perpetrated by a partner, ex-partner, family member or carer.

It can include stalking and harassment, controlling and threatening behaviour, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour-based’ crimes and female genital mutilation (FGM).

In the majority of cases, it’s experienced by women and is perpetrated by men, however all individuals can experience abuse, regardless of their gender. It’s a myth that domestic abuse is constituted only by acts of violence. It also includes:

> Psychological and/or emotional abuse
> Financial abuse
> Online and/ or digital abuse

There are different types of abuse

Physical abuse

The reality is harsh. In the UK two women die each week at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. And a woman is at most risk of death or serious injury at the point of leaving or up to a year after.

Physical abuse is any kind of bodily contact with the intention of controlling or hurting you. It includes acts like pushing, slapping, hitting, hair-pulling, spitting, punching, kicking and biting.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when someone is forced, pressurised or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity.
Unwanted sexual behaviour can happen in intimate relationships. If consent isn’t given, it’s sexual abuse.

Psychological and emotional abuse

This ranges from verbal abuse and constant criticism, to more subtle tactics such as repeated disapproval, or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Continual insults, accusations and insinuations erode a person until they lose all sense of self-esteem and confidence. It often has more long-lasting and profound effects than any physical harm.

Psychological and emotional abuse is sometimes called ‘intimate terrorism’.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse involves using money as a way to limit and control a partner’s current or future actions, and to take away independence and freedom of choice. It can include using credit cards without permission, putting contractual obligations in their partner’s name, gambling with family assets, or stopping their partner from getting or keeping a job.

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