Walking on eggshells: Domestic abuse is not always physical
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Do you feel scared of your partner and worry about the consequences of what might be relatively minor things? Does your partner get angry at the smallest of things? Do you feel like you have to do everything their way? Are you worried and that what you do will ‘set them off’?
It’s day five of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and today we want to talk about controlling and coercive behaviour.
If you constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner, you could be suffering from domestic abuse.
Controlling and coercive behaviour is a deliberate pattern of behaviour and psychological abuse that isolates, manipulates and frightens a victim into doing as they’re told. It can include assaults, threats, humiliation, intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or make the victim feel afraid.
The law on coercive control allows charges to be brought in domestic abuse cases where there is evidence of repeated controlling or coercive behaviour. It was introduced in 2015 and recognises that abuse is a complex and sustained pattern of behaviour intended to create fear.
It can brought if a victim suffers serious alarm or distress that impacts on their day-to-day activities, or if they fear violence will be used on at least two occasions. The maximum penalty for the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour is five years’ imprisonment and a fine.
It’s difficult to spot, but if you’re unsure, try asking yourself some questions:
- Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
- Has your partner prevented you or made it hard for you to go to work, or to continue or start studying?
- Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
- Are you ever afraid of your partner?
- Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you or your children?
- Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you are unable to buy food or other necessary items for yourself and your children or made you take out loans?
- Has your partner ever tried to control you by telling you that you could be deported because of your immigration status?
- Has your partner ever tried to prevent you leaving the house?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions you may be experiencing coercive control.
You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
If you are a victim of abuse or if you have concerns about someone 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 www.facebook.com/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. The Silent Solution can help you if speaking could put you or someone else in danger.
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/