What are the different types of domestic abuse?

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The 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence is an international campaign that seeks to address and combat domestic violence. The campaign emphasizes the need for gender equality, the eradication of violence, and the protection of human rights.

It starts on November 25th, 2023, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on December 10th, 2023, which is International Human Rights Day. These 16 days provide a dedicated period for advocacy and action.

Domestic violence extends further than physical abuse and we are supporting the campaign by raising awareness of the different types of domestic abuse people can experience and aim to help break down barriers and get people talking. 

The different types of domestic abuse include; 

1. Love Bombing - when your partner, showers you with huge displays of affection or is overtly attentive. You will find the behaviour overbearing and be confused with declarations of  ‘love’. This type of behaviour can often lead to gaslighting. This often happens at the beginning of the relationship (to 'reel in' the victim) before the abuse begins.

2. Gaslighting - this is manipulation. The most common use is when a partner convinces you that you are misinterpreting events or have remembered something incorrectly. The purpose is to convince you that they are correct. It can also take the form of name calling or humiliation.

3. Controlling behaviour – your partner wants to control or assert power over you. The behaviour is often intimidating and overbearing. The behaviour can often lead you to feeling embarrassed or unworthy. It can be hard to spot and your partner may attempt to make you believe that they are doing it because they care.  

4. Coercive Behaviour - a pattern of acts or assaults, threats, humiliation or any form of abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten you.

5. Financial abuse - this can be a subtle form of control; it often takes place by your partner hiding financial information, and moving money to restrict your access to it or controlling family assets. They might also insist on controlling your bank account. You will be you dependent upon them financially.

6. Digital abuse – your partner wants to control your social media accounts and who you ‘follow’ or are ‘friends’ with. They may also insist on having all passwords to social media accounts or emails. Using social media they can ‘track’ you, check and monitor your phone. 

7. Sexual - it is not just rape or attempted rape. Sexual abuse can take many forms such as unwanted kissing, unwanted touching, refusing to use condoms, hiding birth control, unwanted rough or violent sexual activity, threatening unwanted sexual advances, pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts. It can also take the form of using sexualised insults.

8. Threats - these can be threats to harm someone you care about such as a relationship or a pet together with making threats to harm you.

9. Isolation - preventing you from seeing friends or family. Telling you who you are allowed to see and when. They may also tell you what to wear when attending social events and will insist they must attend with you. This also can be more covert eg; telling you the people around you aren't good for you, wanting to be with you all the time which automatically isolates you from others, becoming upset when you want to go somewhere without them or showing extreme jealousy and distrust for you.  

10. Using mental health - this can take two forms. Your partner may use your mental health against you, blaming your thought processes and feelings for their actions. They may also use their own mental health and threaten to self-harm or commit suicide if you do not do what they want you to or if you say you want to separate.

11. Physical abuse - slapping, punching, kicking, grabbing, pulling hair, throwing things at you, pushing you, pulling you, grabbing clothing.

12. Using the children - this often takes the form of threats to remove the children from your care. They may make claims that you are a bad parent and aren’t fit to care for them.

13. Stalking - this is usually when a relationship ends and can be very scary. It is a mental assault that is persistent and unwanted. The perpetrator will keep finding ways to re-enter your life causing fear, due to the constant threat.

14. Harassment - this in a relationship, is often subtle and includes checking up on you, frequent or constant communication (calls, messages etc) and being annoyed if you don't respond instantly, looking who has called you or checking your mail; turning up unexpectedly.

15. Intimidation - intentionally embarrassing you in public, screaming or yelling at you, punching walls or damaging property when they are angry, calling you names and putting you down.

16. Online abuse - tagging you in embarrassing photos, posting negative things about you, uploading images or videos onto online platforms.

There is lots of free help for people that find themselves in an abusive relationship. No matter who you are experiencing this behaviour, professionals will understand why you may have stayed in the relationship and will provide non-judgemental and empathetic advice. Services that can help include; the police, Women’s aid, Mankind, Refuge and Fear Free Charity.

We offer free, initial consultations and can discuss with you appropriate agencies that can help you and assist you in making referrals. The Family Court can also offer protective measures both for you and any children. We can advise you in respect of the most appropriate orders to apply for. Our team is experienced, and we really do care and can guide you through the process.

Carol Dawe

Solicitor, Family Law

Contact a member of the team  

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