Domestic Violence is described as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.’ (Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.)
24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline
The priorities of the police service in responding to domestic violence are as follows:
- To protect the lives of both adults and children who are at risk as a result of domestic violence;
- To investigate all reports of domestic violence;
- To facilitate effective action against offenders so that they can be held accountable through the criminal justice system;
- To adopt a proactive multi-agency approach in preventing and reducing domestic violence.
There are several different definitions for domestic violence or abuse, many of which are myths, propagated by abusers, and also, the majority of the time, by men and women who are in denial about being abused. Abuse is not just hitting, or forced intercourse; rape. Domestic violence is characterised by hundreds of situations in which one individual harms another while they are in a relationship, regardless of whether or not the couple are married or live together. This can be verbal or emotional abuse, such as shouting at you or your children, manipulation, being controlled or often humiliated by your partner. Or it can be physical or sexual abuse, if one partner hits you or your children, or forces sex on you, and/or touches your children inappropriately.
There are many common myths generated about what domestic abuse or violence actually, is, and unfortunately, many of these myths were created by women suffering from domestic violence as an attempt to make things look normal in their household. Some of these myths are:
- It’s not his fault, it’s the alcohol. – Alcohol is not an excuse. If your partner drinks too often and becomes violent, then there is a pre-existing anger problem that needs to be addressed.
- Men are never the ones being abused. – Men are perhaps more often and openly abused than women, but are more likely to hide it because they face ridicule or embarrassment from the rest of society.
- Your children won’t know if they never see it. – Children can see and hear the signs of abuse because it happens in the home, and to people they are close to. Plus, there’s the added concern of whether or not your partner is also abusing your children. Domestic violence affects everyone close to the people involved.
- It’s because of all the terrible things his parents did to him. – It is a conscious decision to harm a loved one, and no amount of past mistakes or history make domestic violence or spousal abuse right.
- You can always leave him. – Not every man or woman can leave the abusive spouse; sometimes they stay because they believe they’ll be giving up too many of the good times, or because it’s easier to hide from it, or be too busy to handle it. In other instances, it’s because the abuser has made severe threats, such as “I’ll kill/catch/hurt you/the children if you ever leave.”
- It’s not your business; don’t start poking into another couple’s rows. – If you know someone who suffers from domestic violence, you are not helping the situation by ignoring it. Reporting domestic violence the right way, if you know about it, can save lives.
- It’s because you make yourself attractive to violent men. – If you are the victim of domestic abuse, it is not because you are weak, because you dress the wrong way, or because you appear vulnerable; the person who is abusing you is the one in the wrong, not you.
- The majority of women suffering from domestic violence are the ones without any money, living on council estates. – Just as many women and men in financially stable situations, as not, suffer from domestic violence; it has nothing to do with how much money you have, it has everything to do with the person you’re with.
- It’s because you/they deserve it. – No one deserve to be a victim at the hands of someone they love.