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Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence is not a single incident or even a series of incidents. 

It is essentially a pattern of behavior designed to achieve power and control over a partner or ex-partner, which is achieved through the use of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse or through movement restriction and/or social isolation.  It is usually a combination of all of these – and is widespread throughout every socioeconomic group.  Domestic abuse can be experienced by both women and men, and also occurs in same-sex relationships. 

What is Domestic Violence and Abuse?

It’s important to know the signs of an abusive relationship. What can seem like just jealousy or possessive behavior can quickly escalate into physical violence or long term psychological harm.

You may be suffering domestic abuse if…

  • You are constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid your partner getting angry
  • He/she tells you what to wear, who to see, where to go
  • He/she pressures you to have sexual contact when you don’t want to
  • He/she is puts you down or calls you names
  • He/she checks your phone, emails and social networking
  • He/she stops you seeing your friends and family
  • He/she is excessively jealous or possessive of you
  • He/she uses any physical violence or force on you like hitting, pushing, kicking, pinching, throwing or smashing things
  • He/she is loving and caring one minute but extremely aggressive the next

You may be being abusive in your relationship if…

  • You try to control or tell your partner what to wear, who to see, where to go
  • You pressure your partner to have sexual contact when they don’t want to
  • You put her/him down or call her/him names
  • You checks her/his phone, emails and social networking
  • You stop her/him seeing her/his friends and family
  • You are jealous or possessive of your partner
  • You use any physical violence or force on your partner like hitting, pushing, kicking, pinching, throwing or smashing things
  • You feel loving and caring towards your partner one minute but extremely aggressive and angry towards them the next

There is no simple way to ’spot’ whether a person is experiencing domestic violence, but a pattern of abuse could include:

  • absence from school, college, university, work or social events
  • fear of their partner, references to their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s anger
  • personality changes – (an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • repeated unexplained injuries
  • you may even observe abusive behavior

People often feel awkward about getting involved in another person’s relationship, but if you think a friend, family member or colleague is a victim of abuse, they will appreciate your help.

What is a Safety Plan?

A plan created by a domestic violence victim or survivor, often with the help of an advocate, that considers options for leaving an abusive partner or creates an action plan for a victim in the event of another incident. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we would urge you to get some help from professionals to help keep you safe. Some other things to consider are:

  • Arrange where you might go if you have to leave urgently.
  • Find places where you can quickly and safely use the phone.
  • Always carry a list of numbers with you in case of an emergency.
  • Try to save money so that you have bus or taxi fares in an emergency.
  • Get an extra set of keys for the house / car.
  • Keep the keys, money and anything else you may need in a safe place, should you have to leave quickly.
  • Talk to your children. Let them know it’s not their fault. Children do not have to see violence or abuse to be affected by it. They hear it, sense it and can be sad and frightened by it.
  • Talk to friends, relatives, your doctor, nurse or others about how you feel.


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