No visible scars – not all domestic abuse is physical

Recognising the types and signs of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is often thought of as domestic violence, but abuse can take many forms and it can be hard to recognise even for those in abusive relationships.

Somerset County Council’s #NoClosedDoors2020 campaign is encouraging us all to be vigilant and look out for the warning signs of domestic abuse in the way people around them behave.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to lead a happy, healthy and safe life free from abuse. If you think you know someone who is living in an abusive relationship, then I urge you to get help and advice.”

The official (Government) definition is:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability, lifestyle, nationality or age and can take many forms:

  • manipulate someone psychologically into doubting their self)

Recognising the signs of domestic abuse

With domestic abuse affecting 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, the chances are we all know someone who is suffering behind closed doors.

Some signs will seem obvious – unexplained injuries or someone being publicly, sometimes aggressively, criticised by a partner or family member. There are some more subtle, hidden signs of abuse: for example, someone receiving constant text messages from a partner or being told who they can see or what they can wear.

If you, or someone you know, is subject to any of the following behaviour from their partner or a close family member they may be in an abusive relationship.

  • Being criticised or verbally abused: Threats, name calling, being shouted at, accused of things.
  • Using pressure tactics: Threats to go to the authorities if they don’t get their own way, withholding money, taking away technology or modes of transport, taking away or threatening to take away children.
  • Being disrespectful: Being belittled in front of other people, stealing money or not being listened to. 
  • Breaking trust: lying, withholding information, breaking promises or jealousy.
  • Isolation: monitoring phone calls and internet use, isolating someone from friends and family, controlling where someone goes and who they see.
  • Harassment: following someone or checking up on them.
  • Threats: threatening someone or their children or pets.
  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make someone perform sexual acts or have sex when they don’t want it
  • Physical violence: which can include but not restricted to, punching, slapping, hitting, biting; kicking; pulling hair out, shoving, strangling or assaulting someone with a weapon.

Your first reaction may be to jump in and protect a person if you think they are experiencing abuse, but, dealing with it on your own could be dangerous and could even expose them to more abuse.

But you really can make a difference, and you may well be their only path to a life free from their abuser.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, help is available: http://www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 49 69 999.

Recognising the types and signs of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is often thought of as domestic violence, but abuse can take many forms and it can be hard to recognise even for those in abusive relationships.

Somerset County Council’s #NoClosedDoors2020 campaign is encouraging us all to be vigilant and look out for the warning signs of domestic abuse in the way people around them behave.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to lead a happy, healthy and safe life free from abuse. If you think you know someone who is living in an abusive relationship, then I urge you to get help and advice.”

The official (Government) definition is:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability, lifestyle, nationality or age and can take many forms:

  • manipulate someone psychologically into doubting their self)

Recognising the signs of domestic abuse

With domestic abuse affecting 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, the chances are we all know someone who is suffering behind closed doors.

Some signs will seem obvious – unexplained injuries or someone being publicly, sometimes aggressively, criticised by a partner or family member. There are some more subtle, hidden signs of abuse: for example, someone receiving constant text messages from a partner or being told who they can see or what they can wear.

If you, or someone you know, is subject to any of the following behaviour from their partner or a close family member they may be in an abusive relationship.

  • Being criticised or verbally abused: Threats, name calling, being shouted at, accused of things.
  • Using pressure tactics: Threats to go to the authorities if they don’t get their own way, withholding money, taking away technology or modes of transport, taking away or threatening to take away children.
  • Being disrespectful: Being belittled in front of other people, stealing money or not being listened to. 
  • Breaking trust: lying, withholding information, breaking promises or jealousy.
  • Isolation: monitoring phone calls and internet use, isolating someone from friends and family, controlling where someone goes and who they see.
  • Harassment: following someone or checking up on them.
  • Threats: threatening someone or their children or pets.
  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make someone perform sexual acts or have sex when they don’t want it
  • Physical violence: which can include but not restricted to, punching, slapping, hitting, biting; kicking; pulling hair out, shoving, strangling or assaulting someone with a weapon.

Your first reaction may be to jump in and protect a person if you think they are experiencing abuse, but, dealing with it on your own could be dangerous and could even expose them to more abuse.

But you really can make a difference, and you may well be their only path to a life free from their abuser.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, help is available: www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 49 69 999.

In an emergency you should always dial 999, if you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent and dial 55 for help.