Since the lockdown have been enforced, there are many reports that Domestic Abuse is on the increase. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or not sure if you are but want more information, then this blog post is for you.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse is the new term for Domestic Violence. The term changed as Domestic Violence can take many forms and it doesn’t always involve physical abuse or violence.
These are the many different forms of abuse:
Economic abuse- This can be any form of financial abuse (involving money) including loyalty point/rewards, gift vouchers, etc.
Emotional, Mental or Psychological abuse- This form of abuse can be referred to any of these terms; this is abuse is where a person behaviour and treatment can cause significant trauma to another’s emotional wellbeing and can cause psychological distress. Psychological distress can include: as anxiety, chronic-depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sexual abuse- This abuse comes in many different forms including posting/sharing and receiving intimate images of someone without their consent, coercing or forcing someone to view or participating in sexual activities they don’t want to do.
Online abuse- This is any abuse that involves the internet and therefore this form of abuse can be interlinked with other forms of abuse.
Verbal abuse- Verbal abuse is any type of abuse that comes in the shape of any sound, so this can be words, grunts, sighs, the kiss of teeth, etc. It is any sound that is used to bring another person down.
Coercive control and ‘gaslighting- Is a psychological mind game and manipulation of an individual to create doubts, questioning of memory, judgement and perception.
Physical abuse- This is an abuse that can take shape in the physical form such as punching, kicking, biting, throwing objects, slapping, hair pulling, etc.
What causes Domestic Abuse?
There are many reasons why a person can abuse others, but whatever the reason, the person receiving the abuse is NOT at fault and they SHOULDN’T live in an abusive environment.
Some people grew up in an abusive home and are therefore desensitised from it and believes that these types of behaviour are normal. Sometimes a stressful situation or a change of circumstances can cause abuse such as the current lockdown and recession. Food, mood, temperature and substances (such as substance misuse) can change a person’s behaviour into an abusive behaviour. It can be personality traits where a person loves power and control and like to implement their version of power and control.
What are the signs Domestic Abuse?
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic abuse and are unsure, these are some sign to look out for and to seek help.
Bruises: If a person is covered in bruises, trying to hide (wearing unsuitable clothing- i.e. long sleeves on an extremely hot day) or make excuses (implausible reasons) for bruises.
Withdrawn: If they become withdrawn and are not interacting with friends and family or at social gatherings like how they normally would.
Finances: This sign can take place in different forms. The first form is financial difficulties- so if the person is having financial troubles where they are always either bothering money or can’t afford to pay for things. The second form is financial affluent- The person suddenly has too much money or expensive goods in their possessions all of a sudden without any plausible explanation- This might be a sign of grooming which will lead to abuse.
Prisoner at Home: If the person is not allowed to leave the home or if they do, they have to be back at a certain time and if they are not, they seem worried and afraid.
Tracking: If the person whereabout and other activities are getting monitored using technological tools and social media.
Where to seek help?
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, you can dial 999 and the police will take the call. If you are unable to speak (for whatever reason), you can cough or tap on the phone when the operator asks you some questions. If you are calling from a mobile you can dial 55 if prompt (55 is requesting help silently so that the abuser is not aware that you just called the police). Please remember that once 55 is dialled, the police are unable to trace the location of your call.
If you are on a landline, the 55 option is NOT available, but the call will stay connected for 45 seconds in case you can pick up again. The call handler will be able to locate your location on a landline to then pass the information to the responding officers.
Have a 24 hours 7 days a week National Domestic Abuse Helpline you can contact on 0808 2000 247. All calls are absolutely free and confidential and you can book a safe time to speak to them on their website. Their website is packed with supportive information and guidance for victims and friends and family of victims.
Women’s Aid provides a range of services for survivors of Domestic Abuse as well as providing special information and for the Covid-19 virus outbreak. They also provide domestic abuse services locally and you can search for your local one here.
Men’s Advice Line
For men facing domestic abuse, you can receive confidential support from Men’s Advice Line, their number is 0808 801 0327
Galop – for members of the LGBTQ+ community
Anyone who thinks they or someone they know are suffering some form of ‘Honour’ based abuse can contact Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 or email them at: email@example.com
Karma Nirvana runs the national honour-based abuse. Honour Based abuse is when individual is abuse because their family or community believes that individual have compromised the family or the community honour/reputation.
SignHealth offers support for any deaf person communicating using the British Sign Language (BSL) who may be facing domestic abuse. They can be contacted on 020 3947 2601, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp/Facetime on: 07970 350366.
Children and Young People affected by domestic abused can contact any of these organisations, they will support and provide you with the information you, your friends and your family needs.
Childline– Their number is 0800 1111
Family Lives– Their number is 0808 800 2222
Home Office (2020); Guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse; UK Government; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse