Domestic violence, or family violence, is violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour in a relationship. There are many types of domestic violence, including social, physical, sexual and emotional. If you’re being subjected to domestic violence, there are a number of organisations that can offer you help and support.
This can help if:
- you’re in an abusive relationship
- you don’t know what to do about your abusive relationship
- you don’t know where to go to get help
- you don’t know what your rights are.
What is domestic violence?
For violence to be ‘domestic’, it doesn’t have to occur within your home, only within a relationship (with family or an intimate partner). It occurs when someone close to you has power and control over you. This control or abuse can be expressed in different ways.
Emotional abuse often goes unrecognised and can be very hurtful. Someone who is emotionally abusive towards you wants to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. Read more about what constitutes emotional abuse.
Social domestic violence occurs when someone insults or humiliates you in front of other people, keeps you isolated from family and friends, or controls what you do and where you go.
Spiritual domestic violence involves preventing you from having your own opinions about religion, cultural beliefs and values. It may also involve manipulating your thoughts on spirituality in order to make you feel powerless.
Where to go
Recognising that there’s a problem is the first step in getting help. The second is to know that you’re not alone. If you need to get out fast, you have a number of options.
A shelter or refuge is a place where you can seek temporary accommodation while you sort out your next steps. There are also usually other services available in refuges, including legal advice, emotional support, practical help (such as food and clothing), and good security.
You can, get in contact with a trusted family member or friend and ask if you can stay with them while you work out what to do next.
How can you keep yourself safe?
An abuser may exert control by downplaying the seriousness of what they’re doing to you. As a result, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of danger you’re in. It’s vital to protect yourself from harm if you feel that you’re being abused.
How likely is it that someone will hurt you? Sometimes it’s hard to work out the danger or risks yourself. If you’re unsure about your safety, it’s important to talk to someone. If you feel uncomfortable, you may have to move to somewhere safe.