Domestic and sexual abuse
Domestic violence and abuse is about someone trying to have power and control over you and everything you do. Abusers will do anything to keep that control. Domestic violence is rarely a one-off event and physical violence often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
Domestic violence is usually perpetrated against women by men they know. However, men are sometimes abused by their female partners, and parents are sometimes abused by their children. Domestic violence affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds and communities.
Different types of abuse
Physical abuse happens when a person uses physical force against another person.
A person can experience many different types of physical abuse including:
- Sleep and food deprivation
Domestic violence is rarely a one-off event and physical violence often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
verbal abuse is a key feature of emotionally abusive relationships. The perpetrator consistently makes statements that negatively label a person. This has a serious impact on the self-esteem and confidence of the person experiencing the verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse includes angry yelling but it also includes cold statements designed to humiliate a person.
Verbal abuse includes:
- continuous criticism, swearing and humiliation in public or in private
- attacks on someone’s intelligence, body or parenting
Mental and emotional abuse
Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars but it can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
The signs of emotional abuse can be hard to identify, especially because it is non-physical. Emotional abuse includes:
- Controlling who the victim can and can't see
- Blaming them for all problems in the relationship
- Controlling what they wear
- Intentionally embarrassing them in public
Someone experiencing emotional abuse can start to believe that what the perpetrator says about them is true. They may also blame themselves for the abuse.
The constant criticism lowers their self-esteem and confidence, making it very difficult to leave the abusive relationship.
Sexual abuse is any form of forced or unwanted sexual activity, perpetrator of sexual abuse may use physical force, make threats or take advantage of a person unable to give consent.
It has impacts on a person’s physical and emotional health. It can lead to long-term mental health issues, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Deliberately causing pain during sex
- Forced sex without protection against pregnancy or STIs
- Forcing the victim to perform sexual acts
- Unwanted touching
- Using sex as a punishment
Sexual abuse mainly happens between people who know each other, but not always
Consent is key to healthy sexual experiences. Always have sex with consent. Do not pressure your partner into having sex or performing sexual acts they do not agree to.
You always have the right to say no, even if you’re married or live together. Silence does NOT mean consent.
Perpetrators of social abuse prevent a person from spending time with family and friends, and participating in social activities.
Social abuse can include:
- Monitoring a victims phone calls and emails
- Controlling who they can and can’t see
- Continuously criticising their friends or family
- Moving far away so they can’t reach their loved ones
- Verbally or physically abusing them in public
By isolating them from their support networks, the perpetrator is attempting to assert power and control.
Without a network of friends and family for support, a person can find it very difficult to leave an abusive relationship
Stalking happens when a person intentionally and persistently pursues someone against their will. The stalker does this to control, intimidate and create fear in the person they are stalking. The person being stalked may feel like they are in danger.
Stalking limits a person’s freedom and makes them feel they have lost control over their lives. Some people who have been stalked are forced to change their lives, including by moving house and changing jobs.
Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Perpetrators include current or former partners, relatives and strangers.
Stalking involves a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents. To control, intimidate and create fear in a person, a stalker may:
- make repeated phone calls
- send numerous text messages
- loiter outside or near a person’s home or work
- leave messages on social networking sites, such as Facebook
- leave notes on a person’s car
- leave flowers at a person’s home
- follow or continually stare at the person they are stalking
Financial abuse can be subtle, with a perpetrator gradually taking control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Financial abuse can also be obvious, violent and threatening. For example, someone may forbid their partner from working or spending their wages.
Financial abuse includes:
- someone taking complete control of finances and money
- restricting access to bank accounts
- providing an inadequate allowance and monitoring what their partner spends money on
- forbidding a partner to work
- taking a partner’s pay and not allowing them to access it
- preventing them from getting to work by taking their keys or car
- identity theft to secure credit
- using their credit card without their permission
Image-based abuse is when someone shares, or threatens to share, intimate photos without the consent of the person in the photo.
Image-based abuse includes photos or videos of:
- A nude person
- A person engaged in a sex act
- A person showering or bathing
- A person’s face digitally added to a sexualised image
It includes images that were taken with and without a person’s consent.
Cyber crime and domestic violence
Cyber crime is a crime that takes place online.
Nottinghamshire Police takes cyber crime very seriously. Victims of cyber crime can be a single person, a group of people, or an organisation. Some examples of how cyber crime can affect you include
- Having your social media or other online accounts hacked
- Being bullied online (often referred to as cyber bullying)
- Someone gaining access to your online banking account and online accounts
- A partner invading your privacy
Nottinghamshire Police publish useful information on how to protect yourself from cybercrime.
Bright Sky App
Bright Sky is a new app to help victims of domestic violence record evidence of their abusive relationships and seek professional help. Bright Sky helps people experiencing domestic abuse to log private journal entries in the form of text, photos and videos, which are then sent to a designated email address. This information can be sent to the authorities at a later date.
The app also uses GPS to find help points nearby and offers advice for people in an abusive relationship, or for people who are concerned about someone else.
Android and iOS platforms
Domestic homicide reviews
Community Safety Partnerships have the responsibility for conducting domestic homicide reviews.
Domestic homicide review means a review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by a family member, relative, partner or a member of the same household.
The review aims to identifying the lessons to be learnt from the death.
Once a review has been completed a report is produced by the Community Safety Partnership. If you require any further information please contact us.
It is a legal requirement for us to publish copies of domestic homicide review reports undertaken by the Bassetlaw Newark and Sherwood Community Safety Partnership.
No matter who you are, you have the right to live free from violence and abuse!