Domestic Abuse

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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any type of violent, emotional, controlling, bullying, threatening behaviour between people in a relationship. It includes physical violence, emotional abuse, coercion and control, harassment and stalking. Your experience can be of a single type of abuse but usually more than one type of abuse occurs.

Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people who witness it and so domestic abuse can also be child abuse. Abuse can happen inside and outside the home, over the phone, on the internet and on social networking sites. It can occur in any relationship and can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers.

Types of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, coercive or controlling, verbal, sexual and financial.

Some examples are:

  • Being kicked, hit, punched or cut;
  • Being screamed at;
  • Being humiliated or constantly criticised
  • Having your finances controlled by the withholding of money or being stopped from earning;
  • Controlling behaviour such as telling you where you can go and what you can wear;
  • Not letting you leave the house;
  • Having emails, text messages or letters read;
  • Receiving threats to harm or kill;
  • Having a family member or pet threatened;
  • Rape (including in a relationship – if you don’t consent it’s rape )

The harm caused by domestic abuse can be physical or emotional or cause the victim to have to limit or change their behaviour.

The impact on the victim’s family and friends should not be underestimated.

How can I prove domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse almost invariably occurs in private, so there are usually no witnesses. That means that the only evidence is likely to be your word, which may be denied by your abuser. The most important thing then, if you’re being abused, is to keep detailed notes, on every occasion, to prove what’s happened. Record repeated incidents because that will be the only way to prove what has happened and will also serve to illustrate the pressure you’re under. Attach to each record anything to support what you’re saying – a photo, a video, a screenshot – anything that helps you prove it’s happened.

Read our essential advice guide on how to prove domestic abuse.

How can ONRECORD help with my domestic abuse case?

ONRECORD is an evidence gathering service and app available for anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse and needs a confidential, effective way to record and gather evidence. Developed by a lawyer and a doctor, ONRECORD is designed to give you all you need to be able to accurately record and gather essential, often crucial, evidence about your domestic abuse case.

The impact on children is particularly important. Children and young people who witness domestic abuse are likely to feel frightened, confused and wary of adults. Some children learn to be abusers themselves. In either case, it can have a lifelong impact on their emotional and physical well-being, their academic progress and their ability to have successful relationships as adults.

Signs that a child has witnessed domestic abuse can include:

  • Being aggressive or bullying;
  • Anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts;
  • Attention seeking;
  • Bed-wetting;
  • Nightmares or insomnia;
  • Regular sickness suggesting stress such as stomach upsets, headaches or mouth ulcers;
  • Drug or alcohol use;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Problem behaviour at school;
  • Trouble learning;
  • Tantrums;
  • Social withdrawal;