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Domestic Abuse – Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I encounter or suspect domestic abuse?

Contact us.  We’re open Monday- Friday from 9:00am- 5:00pm

Why does it happen?

All forms of domestic abuse – psychological, economic, emotional and physical come from the abuser’s desire for power and control over other family members or intimate partners. Although every situation is unique, there are common factors involved.

What about male victims of domestic violence and abuse?

Violence, controlling and abusive behaviour can happen in male gay relationships and by women against men. Domestic violence and abuse is a crime and is unacceptable in any relationship. If you are a male and experiencing domestic violence, please contact us.

My partner is smaller than me so how can I be suffering domestic abuse?

Size and stature is not reflected in someone’s abusive behaviour. Just because someone is smaller, does not mean they cannot hit you, destroy your possessions, threaten to out you to your friends and family, control your finances or belittle you in front of other people.

Does domestic abuse only happen in certain cultures or classes?

Research shows that domestic violence is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Domestic abuse can occur regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, age, class, disability or lifestyle. Domestic abuse can also take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships, and can involve other family members, including children.

My partner doesn’t hit me so it can’t be domestic violence can it?

Domestic violence is not always physical, and that means that the signs may not be obvious. Domestic violence or abuse can involve controlling a person’s contact with their friends and family (isolating them), destroying property, verbal threats in private or public, etc.

My partner hit me for the first time but was drunk, is this just a one-off ?

Many people who drink too much or take drugs are not abusive. Domestic abuse does not only happen when someone is drunk or has taken drugs. People might try to use alcohol or drugs as an excuse, saying things like, ‘I was drunk’ or ‘I don’t remember’. Even if they really do not remember, it does not make it OK

Who is more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse?

According to police reports and research, domestic abuse is most commonly experienced by women, although men can also be victims of abuse. Domestic abuse can affect anyone of any race, religion, class or background/lifestyle, although women under the age of 30, pregnant women (30% of abuse begins or escalates during pregnancy) and those living in poverty are typically more at risk. Domestic abuse can occur at any point in a relationship; it might not start for several months or years.

My friend’s in a domestic abusive relationship – if it’s that bad, why won’t they leave?

There are many reasons why a victim stays in an abusive relationship. Often they are too frightened to leave; their partner may have threatened to kill them, the children or the pets. They might even have threatened to kill themselves if they go. A victim may be worried about uprooting children or having to leave them behind or having them taken into care if people find out about the abuse. Domestic abuse also involves stalking and harassment once the relationship has ended, and leaving the relationship is one of the most risky times for a victim and their children.

Can an injunction help me?

An injunction is a powerful court order (non-molestation order) that prohibits an abuser from using or threatening violence against you, or harassing, pestering or intimidating you. If the order is breached, the police can then arrest that person immediately. For further information on injunctions or other protective measures, please contact us.

Does domestic abuse affect children?

The majority of children are aware or will direct witness domestic violence in the home. 90% of children are either in the same room or a nearby room. Children can experience both short term and long term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing (hearing or seeing) domestic abuse. Children living in households where domestic abuse is taking place are deemed at being ‘at risk of harm’.

My partner and I argued last weekend and they became violent. They promised me it wouldn’t happen again. Can I believe them?

Once a partner has started to abuse it is likely to happen again. Abuse is rarely an isolated, one-off incident. Usually it is part of a pattern of controlling behaviour that becomes worse with time. There may be a period where the person appears to be non-abusive by being attentive, charming and helpful. However, most abusers will abuse again, and this phase of being nice soon changes to the old pattern of controlling behaviour.

My partner can’t control his temper, is this why he is violent?

Most violent and abusive people are able to control themselves not to hit or abuse their partners in public or in front of others or to cause injuries that are visible. Most violent people are abusive to their partners and children but never to anyone else. Most people who abuse are able to function without violence in their local community, in their workplace and when having contact with other people. Abusers are responsible for their own actions and behaving in an aggressive way or using violence is intentional.

My neighbours frequently argue and smash things up. I’m worried one of them will get hurt but I don’t feel I should interfere, it’s a private matter isn’t it ?

The abuse of an individual is not a private matter, 25% of reported violent crime is domestic violence. Most incidences of domestic violence still go unreported.

Domestic violence is a crime; If you think someone is experiencing domestic violence and is at risk of immediate harm please call 999.

How can I get further advice or information?

Contact us