Domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also take other forms such as emotional, controlling and coercive behaviour, and economic abuse between two people aged 16 or over who are personally connected. (Domestic Abuse Act 2021).
Domestic abuse can also include so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
It is important to understand that domestic abuse is not the same as a bad relationship and can occur both during a relationship or after it has ended.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be affected in their lifetime.
Many of the effects of abuse for the male victim of domestic abuse are the same as for women. They are likely to feel deeply shamed, frightened, experience a loss of self-worth and confidence, feel isolated, guilty and confused about the situation. However, women are disproportionately affected by this issue.
How are children affected?
Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include:
- feeling frightened
- becoming withdrawn
- bed wetting
- running away
- behavioural difficulties
- problems with school
- poor concentration
- emotional turmoil
To many, it seems simple: if an individual is being abused, they should just get up and go, or throw the abuser out. Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship knows it is a lot more difficult than that. It is quite common for someone being abused to leave and return to the abuser several times.
It is important to be clear that domestic abuse is not a private matter and is also a child protection issue.