It seems that front line police officers are being trained to spot signs of domestic abuse.
How do you know whether or not you are suffering from abuse. IDAS state that everyone who is living in an abusive relationship experiences this in different ways. However, there are often patterns to abusive behaviours. This includes controlling, bullying and / or violent behaviour. The behaviour can be from your partner, ex-partner or close family member. If you are worried that you or a friend may be experiencing abuse, then you could try working your way through the checklist below:
- Does your partner or someone close to you criticise you, put you down or call you names?
- Are you frightened about how your partner will react if you get into an argument?
- Are you frightened of your partner when he or she has been drinking?
- Has your partner ever hit you?
- Does your partner complain about your friendships or family members or stop you from seeing them?
- Does your partner ask you to do things you are uncomfortable with?
- Are you ever worried that your children are seeing or hearing things they shouldn’t be?
- Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
- Has your partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
- Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
- Has your partner ever tried to control you by telling you you could be deported because of your immigration status?
- Has your partner ever threatened to take your children away or said he/she would refuse to let you take them with you, or even to see them, if you left him/her?
The refuge advise that Domestic violence is caused by an abuser’s desire to gain power and control over their partner. Abusers use a range of different tactics – physical, emotional, sexual, financial – to achieve this.
They have provided the following list to help you to identify whether you are experiencing domestic violence:
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Do you feel isolated? Does he/she cut you off from family and friends?
- Is he/she jealous and possessive?
- Does he/she humiliate or insult you?
- Does he/she verbally abuse you?
- Does he/she say you are useless and couldn’t cope without him/her?
- Does he/she physically hurt you? Does he/she shove, slap, punch or kick you?
- Has he/she threatened to hurt you or people close to you?
- Does he/she constantly criticise you?
- Does he/she have sudden changes of mood which dominate the household?
- Is he/she charming one minute and abusive the next? Like Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde?
- Does he/she control your money?
- Do you change your behaviour to avoid triggering an attack?
- Are you unsure of your own judgement?
- Does he/she damage your possessions?
- Does he/she smash up the furniture?
- Does he/she threaten to harm or kill the pets?
- Does he/she threaten to kidnap or get custody of the children?
- Does he/she drive fast because they know it scares you?
- Does he/she lock you out of the house during an argument?
- Does he/she tell you what to wear or how to do your hair?
Domestic violence takes many different forms.
Physical abuse is the most recognisable form of abuse. It can range from a slap or shove to a black eye, cut lip, or broken bone. In the most extreme cases it can result in death.
Physical abuse doesn’t always leave visible marks or scars. Having your hair pulled or an egg thrown at you is domestic violence too. Don’t underestimate what is happening to you. Over time the violence usually gets worse.
Many women/men experience domestic violence without ever being physically abused. Sometimes they’re not sure if what is happening to them is domestic violence. They worry that no-one will take them seriously if they talk about it.
If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, you are being abused. Emotional abuse is an attack on your personality rather than your body.
Emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse. It often leads to physical violence over time.
One of the most powerful ways to control a partner is by using financial abuse.
There are many different forms of financial abuse, but it might include things like your partner taking your money; stopping you from working; placing all the bills or debts in your name; or monitoring how you spend money and other financial resources e.g. the telephone.
If you feel that your partner is limiting your financial independence, you are experiencing financial abuse.
If you are concerned and wish to discuss your circumstances, please do not hesitate in contacting our family law specialists, on 0121 702 1580 who would be happy to assist.