Domestic abuse- what is it and how to spot the signs?
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It’s day two of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and today we want to help people spot the signs of domestic abuse.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is of any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those over 16 who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
For many years the term domestic violence was used to describe assaults. However, the word ‘violence’ creates a narrow idea of the type of behaviour that victims may suffer – and make people incorrectly think that they are not able to seek help.
We now talk about domestic abuse, and this can include, but is not limited to:
Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background. It also includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
What do you see?
It’s not easy to spot the signs, but here are 10 things you might notice in a friend, relative or neighbour which could indicate that they are suffering domestic abuse:
- Injuries- they may have physical injuries such as cuts or bruising, but may say they are self-inflicted or accidental.
- Stress- a victim could be suffering from symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. They may suffer panic attacks, feel isolated or even have thoughts about suicide.
- Absent at work- they may often be late for work, be off sick on a regular basis or take time off without giving much notice.
- Personality- a victim may change their personality when around their partner, or appear more nervous or uneasy when they are around.
- Self-esteem- they may appear to have a low-self esteem or self-confidence, particularly around their relationship or life as a whole.
- Money- a victim may not seem to have any money, or access to money. A partner could be using it as a form of control.
- Socialising- they may stop socialising, regularly make excuses to not go out with friends or cancel plans at the last minute.
- Irrational behaviour- a victim’s partner may be jealous, aggressive or possessive. They may read their messages, emails, social media and have the victim’s passwords. They may also be constantly calling or messaging the victim to check up on them.
- Substance abuse- they may use alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs to help them cope with the abuse.
- Damage - there may be damage or repairs needed at the home or property of a victim, which could have been caused as part of the abuse they are suffering.
If you’re being abused, are concerned about someone, or are worried you may commit domestic abuse, please seek help, either from the police or from support organisations.
You can report it online here, www.derbyshire.police.uk/reportdomesticabuse or by calling 101 if you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
On social media, you can also contact us through Facebook, send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary or direct message our contact centre on Twitter, @DerPolContact.
Remember, in an emergency which is ongoing, or where life is in danger, call 999 immediately. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
There are also partner support services local to Derbyshire who can help you. You can find their details on our website here: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support-helplines/