Recognising Domestic Violence/Abuse
The term 'domestic violence' goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone.
Domestic violence is more common than most people realize and is often unreported and misunderstood.
It occurs in all social classes, all ethnic groups and among people of every educational background.
It can be described as the use of physical or emotional force or the threat of physical force, including sexual violence in close adult relationships.
Domestic violence profoundly affects the physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing of individuals and families. It is perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, intimate partner, ex-partner, other family members and/or another person at home. Domestic violence is a pattern of repeated abusive and controlling behaviours that occurs within an intimate or family relationship and may even continue after the relationship has ended.
Domestic, sexual and gender-based violence have recently emerged as an increasingly important topic in the public debate in the international community. While, in the past, discussion has been framed principally with respect to violence against women, men can also be victims of violence in the home and in relationships. Some figures suggest that women and men experience similar levels of domestic abuse, particularly when both minor and more severe forms of abuse are combined. However, one must bear in mind that the impact and severity of abuse experienced by women is greater than that by men, particularly for more severe behaviours.
Men and women have exactly the same rights to be safe in their own homes. All statutory services (such as the Courts, and social services) have a duty to provide services to all, whatever their gender.