Domestic abuse can be any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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. This can include forced marriage, so-called “honour-based” violence, Female Genital Mutilation and ritual abuse.
The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, frighten, isolate or create dependence.
There are links and overlap between domestic violence and the continuum of sexual violence.
Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights, a form of violence against women and men, where it affects children, child abuse and where it affects those with disabilities abuse of vulnerable people. If you or someone you know is being forced into a marriage, help and advice is available. Culture, Religion and Tradition are not an excuse; forced marriage is illegal in the UK.
Honour Based Violence
The concept of ‘honour’ is for some communities deemed to be extremely important. To compromise a family’s ‘honour’ is to bring dishonour and shame and this can have severe consequences. The punishment for bringing dishonour can be emotional abuse, physical abuse, family disownment and in some cases even murder.
In most honour-based violence cases there are multiple perpetrators from the immediate family, sometimes the extended family and occasionally the community at large. Mothers, sisters, aunties and even grandmothers have been known to be involved in the conspiring of honour crimes.
Female Genital Mutiliation
Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but there's no medical reason for this to be done.
FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. It's illegal in the UK and is child abuse. It's very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls.
It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health.
All women and girls have the right to control what happens to their bodies and the right to say no to FGM.
Help is available if you have had FGM or you're worried that you or someone you know is at risk.
- If someone is in immediate danger, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.
- If you're concerned that someone may be at risk, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email@example.com.
- If you're under pressure to have FGM performed on your daughter, ask a GP, your health visitor or another healthcare professional for help, or contact the NSPCC helpline.
- If you have had FGM, you can get help from a specialist NHS gynaecologist or FGM service – ask a GP, your midwife or any other healthcare professional about services in your area.