Defining domestic violence
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, there are a range of organisations that can help. Pendle Domestic Violence Initiative are a local organisation who can support and advise you, and there are other national and local organisations who can help.
What is domestic violence?
- The physical, emotional, sexual or mental abuse of one person by another with whom they have or have had a close or intimate relationship
- A pattern of abusive or controlling behaviour which is used to maintain power over a partner. However such violence or abuse can be directed towards children, other family members, and friends
- Controlling and abusive behaviour can also occur in lesbian, gay or transgender relationships and by women against men.
Domestic violence can start at any point in a relationship, even many years after you first met. However, research shows that formal marriage, pregnancy or childbirth can sometimes signal the beginning of abuse.
Domestic violence is rarely a one off event. It tends to escalate in frequency and severity over time. Children are invariably affected by domestic violence whether they witness it at first hand or not.
Domestic violence can be:
- Physical Abuse - hurting someone by punching, slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, burning or beating - often leading to permanent injuries and sometimes death
- Sexual Abuse - forcing or encouraging someone to have sex against their will or take part in any other sexual activities that make them uncomfortable
- Emotional Abuse - saying and/or doing things that frighten or put the other person down to make them feel bad. For example, constantly saying that someone is stupid or ugly
- Controlling Behaviour - preventing someone from acting freely. This can include threats, keeping them from seeing relatives and friends, not letting them have a job or not letting them spend or have access to money. Being made a prisoner in their own home
Everyone has the right to be safe in their own home and live free from violence and fear. You may feel humiliated, frightened, ashamed, alone and confused - but you are not to blame.
Domestic violence is very common: it can be experienced by both women and men from any background, social class, race, sexuality, age, disability, religion or culture.