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Family Law, Divorce, Separation

Domestic abuse — definitions and signs

  • What are the signs?
      • Constant criticism and verbal abuse - name calling/verbally threatening
      • Disrespect - constantly putting you down and belittling you in front of other people, taking money from you without asking, refusing to help
      • Isolation - monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and family
      • Harassment - following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public, posting explicit material about you online
      • Threats - making angry gestures, shouting at you, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children
      • Sexual violence - using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you don't want to
      • Physical violence - punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling


  • Definition of domestic abuse

      Defined by the Government as "Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality". This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called "honour killings". Any man or woman can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle.

      • Abuse can take place in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships and can involve other family members, including children.
      • Domestic abuse is very common and affects one in four women and one in six men in their lifetimes.
      • Domestic abuse accounts for between 16% and 25% of recorded violent crime.

      If you believe that you are suffering from domestic abuse and if it is of a physical, violent and threatening nature you should immediately call the police. However, for longer term remedies you may be able to apply through the Family Courts for an injunction. An Injunction prevents someone from acting in a certain way.