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We know everyone’s experience is different and every situation is unique. Abusive relationships often have some common threads running through them. Domestic abuse can occur in intimate partner relationships or family settings it can include but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
This is the most visible form of abuse and can often be used by perpetrators to intimidate and cause immediate fear. Physical violence does not always leave a mark on someone’s body. Examples can include:
This type of behaviour is a silent but lethal weapon used to ebb away at a person’s ability to exist, creating a climate of chronic fear. Coercive control expert Evan Stark says: “the victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction and fear.” Examples include:
Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of their sex, gender, identity, age, sexual orientation, religion, class or background. Examples include:
This type of abuse is specifically used to reduce confidence and self-esteem creating over reliance on the perpetrator. It is often subtle and can go unseen for prolonged periods of time. Examples include:
Stalking behaviour can be very threatening, in isolation they may seem like small acts however, the reality is usually more sinister. Stalking is a criminal offence defined by PAS as a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive and causes fear of violence or serious alarm and distress. Examples include:
This type of abuse is alarmingly on the increase, the rise of social media platforms as well as advances in technology means perpetrators have found ingenious ways of exercising control and power. Examples include:
This type of abuse is another common aspect of coercive control. Unsurprisingly money can be a powerful tool used to control the partner/family member from either acquiring, using or maintaining their own money and resources. Economic abuse can often occur long after the relationship has ended. Examples include:
Honour based violence can and does occur against men as well as women, it is most prevalent in communities where the concept of honour is seen as an important factor tying the family/community together. Bringing shame and dishonour can have severe consequences, honour-based crimes can often have multiple perpetrators. The punishment for compromising a family or communities honour can lead to verbal abuse, physical abuse, family disownment, forcing individual in to a non-consensual relationship/marriage, sending individual abroad, keeping individual locked in the house/secret location and in some tragic cases death.
Examples of what can constitute dishonour:
The UK Home Office provides the following definition of forced marriage: “A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.”
It is important to note there is a vital distinction between an Arranged Marriage and Forced Marriage.
Arranged Marriage – This is where both parties give their full consent to the marriage and there is no element of fear, guilt or force (however small it may be).
Forced Marriage is a violation of human rights, it is widely recognised as a form of domestic abuse. Forced Marriage also includes marriages of children under the age of consent as well as marriages between Gay and Lesbian people who do not wish to marry the opposite sex.
Examples of abuse that can lead up to a Forced Marriage
Female Genital Mutilation is often referred to as female circumcision or Female Cutting. The World Health Organisation define Female Genital Mutilation as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.
Female Genital Mutilation is commonly carried in the name of family honour, often it’s a tradition carried out by generations of families to ensure virginity is preserved as well as increasing sexual pleasure for the man.
FGM is a crime in the UK, it is also a crime to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to assist someone trying to do this.
Those at risk of FGM:
Not only is FGM is a gross violation of Human Rights of girls and women but it has profound and enduring heath implications.