Domestic violence FAQs
What is domestic violence?
The government defines domestic violence as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’. We know that this abuse occurs across our communities on an only too frequent basis. It is rarely just a one-off incident and is usually a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour which gets worse over time.
It is a sad and shocking statistic that a partner is assaulted in their home every six seconds in the UK and one woman is killed every three days. Home Office statistics and research says that domestic violence accounts for between 16-25% of all recorded violent crimes. The police report that on average they receive a call about domestic violence every minute.
Children can also often find themselves the victims as well as their parent. They can become innocently caught in the cross fire and suffer injury, and can suffer harm emotionally because of the worry and fear about what is going on in their home. A recent study by experts from the University of London and the Anna Freud Centre suggests that children living in homes where violence takes place may actually have their brains affected by their home life situation in a similar way to soldiers in combat. There is now evidence that these children are at greater risk of mental health problems including anxiety and depression which may only surface when they are older.
What are the signs of domestic violence?
It can take many forms and does not necessarily have to include violence. Abuse ranges from verbal to serious acts of physical violence.
Recognised signs of domestic violence include:
Threats – intimidating, shouting, breaking things in front of a person, threatening violence to someone or the children, threatening a person with objects.
Harassment – following a person, watching someone or having them watched, checking their telephone, reading mails, embarrassing someone in public.
Criticising and verbal abuse – shouting at someone, name calling, verbal threats, accusations, belittling.
Sexual violence – threatening violence, using force, degrading someone intimately.
Physical violence – hitting, punching, biting, pushing, kicking, pinching.
Isolating – persuading a person not to see or make contact with family and friends, making it difficult for a person at their place of work or with their employers.
Pressurising – threatening to take the children away, threatening to withdraw financial support, threatening to harm themselves or the children, threatening to throw someone out of their home, threatening to report a parent to agencies about care of the children, threatening to given information to family, friends and work colleagues, saying that it is one person’s fault and they made them do it.
Speak to our family law specialists confidentially at any time on 0203 816 0548.