Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour, by a partner, ex partner or family member. But it isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, economic and psychological abuse. Abusive behaviour can happen in any relationship and it can continue even after the relationship has ended.
What Is Coercive Control?
Coercive control is a pattern of acts - assaults, threats, humiliation or intimidation that is used to harm, punish or frighten someone. Controlling behaviour is used with the intention of making the victim dependent by isolating them from support, depriving them of their independence, resistance and escape and regulating their behaviour.
Tactics of Abuse
Every situation is different and abusive partners/family members will use a range of different tactics to make you feel worthless, confused, frightened and as if there is no hope for escape. Some can be subtle, others overt, here are some the tactics we see daily in the course of our work:
Physical Abuse - biting, burning, hitting, punching, slapping, choking, use of weapons/objects
Emotional Abuse - making you feel bad, putting you down, calling you names, making you feel guilty or to blame for the abuse
Isolation - preventing you from seeing family/friends, stopping you from working/attending college, restricting your social life
Economic Abuse - demanding money from you, making you justify your spending, restricting your finances or access to your own money
Using the Children - turning the children against you, using child contact as a way to continue the abuse, threatening to hurt the children or take them away
Threats and Intimidation - threatening to report you to police or social services, threatening to hurt you if you leave, making you feel afraid with looks, gestures or aggressive behaviour
Minimizing, Denying, Blaming - making excuses, blaming you for incidents of abuse, playing down the seriousness of the situation
Sexual Abuse - forcing or co-ercing you into sex, infidelity, withholding affection
There is never any excuse for abuse and it can happen to anyone, at any time.