Providing support to people in the Leeds District whose lives have been affected by domestic violence and abuse
Types of Domestic Violence
There is a misconception that abuse is limited to extreme physical violence, but there are many ways abuse can manifest. Click on the examples on the right to find out more about the main types of abuse.
We have also included details and resources relating to domestic abuse against men, abuse in LGBT+ relationships, honour-based abuse and forced marriages.
If your partner or ex partner does any of these things, they are likely to be an abuser.
Many abusers behave in ways that use multiple forms of abuse and the boundaries between some of these behaviours are often blurred. Physical abuse doesn't always leave marks or scars. Having hair pulled or objects thrown at you is domestic abuse too. Over time, the evidence shows that this physical form of abuse (violence) gets worse, and often more frequent. There are numerous types of physical abuse - and these are some of the most commonly reported.
Common types of Physical Abuse:
In addition to potential injuries, pain and scarring, the experience of physical abuse can lead to:
...and many other destructive effects.
PSYCHOLOGICAL / EMOTIONAL ABUSE
Psychological/emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse. Many people say that the healing from this form of abuse is much harder and it takes much longer. It leaves deep psychological scars, often seriously damaging the self-confidence, self-esteem and self-identity of the person experiencing the abuse. The perpetrator of psychological/emotional abuse will often try to isolate and control the person affected as well as using words to undermine them.
Psychological/emotionally abusive behaviours may include:
Effects of psychological/emotional abuse include:
These often leave the person feeling more dependant on the abuser, keeping them from realising their own self-worth and making it increasingly difficult to leave.
Sexual abuse is any sexual act where a person is forced to do something they don't want to. It is still sexual abuse when the person does not say 'No' because they are frightened of the consequences of refusing to engage in these sexual acts.
The person may be forced with actual threats of physical violence (to themselves or others) or as stated above, the fear of what may happen could be sufficient to make them comply.
Sexual abuse can include:
Sexual abuse can happen within marriage - it often goes unrecognised, as well as unreported, as many people still assume it is a 'duty' within marriage to satisfy sexual demands with no regard for the other person's wishes or feelings. Rape is rape, within or outside marriage, and it is a crime.
Sexual abuse may be used as a way of the abuser showing that 'they are forgiven' for an earlier abusive incident because the partner has been intimate with them.
Many people experiencing sexual abuse feel degraded, confused, guilty or dirty and this adds to feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth and can impact on future relationships.
Verbal abuse can take many forms and although there are obvious ones like shouting and calling insulting names, it can also take more subtle forms e.g.:
An abuser who uses verbal abuse to intimidate and undermine relies on the person experiencing the abuse and the society that witnesses it, accepting their abusive behaviour and not recognising its serious destructive nature. Many people start to fear to speak or contradict and lose self-belief in their right to have a 'voice'.
In some ways, financial abuse is even easier for abusers to hide; there are no tell-tale bruises provoking awkward questions. People are often reluctant to discuss their finances, even with friends and family. This makes it even harder for people to reach out for support or question whether a situation is normal. If a partner is preventing someone from having financial independence then they could be considered financially abusive. It may include:
Victims can become trapped in a cycle of poverty, causing physical and mental ill-health, a lack of confidence and feelings of isolation. Debt and limited funds only increase the sense of isolation, of being trapped and unable to escape an unhappy, abusive relationship, particularly when there are children to think about.
Some research indicates that younger people in relationships are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse as they have not yet had chance to develop sound financial judgement and may not recognise it, particularly where there is no other 'obvious' abuse to encourage them to consider it.
CYBER ABUSE / STALKING
It is hard to give exact definitions of Cyber Abuse or Stalking as many different behaviours and actions are used to harass the victim.
Cyber abuse particularly refers to the use of modern technology i.e. mobile phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. It can also occur when a person is harassing others connected with the individual, knowing that this behaviour will affect their victim, as well as the other people that the abuser appears to be targeting their actions towards. This is known as 'stalking by proxy'. Family members, friends and employees of the victim may be subjected to this.
Stalking again has no strict legal definition but stalking behaviours may include:
The effect of such behaviour is to reduce the victim's freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful; like they are constantly being watched. In many cases, the actions might appear innocent (if it were to be taken in isolation), but when carried out repeatedly so as to amount to a 'course of conduct', it may then cause significant alarm, fear, anxiety and distress to the victim. It may result in the victim cutting themselves off from others, for their own safety and that of others; it may impact on employment and social life as well as mental health.
It often takes a while to realise that someone is being stalked; at first it seems like someone is just being annoying, then they become creepy and insistent and finally it can become very frightening. Stalking can escalate very quickly - don't hesitate to report your fears if this is happening to you.
ABUSE AGAINST MEN
The short answer to the above is that men experience, and are affected by, abuse in much the same way that women are. It is widely accepted that the majority of dv&a victims are women but abuse towards men happens much more than is often expected. Evidence suggests that about 40% of dv&a victims are men, in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Whilst in many cases men are physically stronger than women, this doesn't necessarily mean it is easier to escape the abuse or the relationship. Abused men have fewer resources available to them e.g. very few refuge options, less face-to-face support in many areas, more disbelief about them being victims and major legal obstacles, especially when it comes to gaining custody of children from an abusive mother. However, men and women have the same rights to protection from dv&a.
Men are often more reluctant to report abuse by a woman as they feel embarrassed, they are worried they won't be believed, or sometimes they fear that the police will assume that since they are the male they are the perpetrator of the abuse and not the victim. An abusive woman may do a variety of things to make up for any difference in physical strength e.g. she may destroy the man's possessions, attack them in their sleep, catch them by surprise or use a weapon/object.
Behind Closed Doors works with men who are victims of domestic violence and abuse offering support from our male (or female if prefered) Community DV Practitioner (for high risk and practical needs) and from the Prevention and Recovery Service (lower risk, emotional and information needs).
Additional Useful Links include:-
ManKind Initiative, tel 01823 334244, www.mankind.org.uk
Men's Advice Line, tel 0808 801 0327, www.mensadviceline.org.uk
SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS
Domestic abuse in the LGBTQ community is as much a problem as it is in heterosexual relationships with surveys showing that about 1 in 4 LGBTQ people experience dv&a.
Whilst dv&a is very similar across all relationships, in some ways there are very important differences for LGBTQ people. One main point is the lack of specialist dv&a support services available to LGBTQ victims of dv&a. Add to that, the services needed to support LGBTQ people often create problems by classing physical domestic abuse as common assault, or mistaking/not being able to identify the primary perpetrator.
This means LGBTQ people have added problems when trying to get help e.g.
Behind Closed Doors is here to support anyone in Leeds experiencing dv&a, irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, religion.
Honour Based Violence (HBV) is an incident or crime which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community. HBV is usually carried out by immediate family members with the complicit help of relatives and the wider community. Victims can be male or female, although the patriarchal (male dominated) structure of honour-based communities tends to result in more severe abuse towards women.
Punishments in the form of physical abuse (for damaging, or potentially damaging, the honour of the family) are usually carried out by the fathers, brothers, husbands and community members, while a 'wider community' made up of extended family (male and female), neighbours and friends monitor the movements and activities of victims and report her/his 'transgressions' back to the family. Many victims can feel that they are on trial even though they have not committed any actual crime. This false feeling of 'criminality' is often accepted by the victim at a deep psychological level and can last a lifetime even when they come to 'intellectually' understand that they were victims of abuse.
If a victim is deemed to be too ‘Westernised’ they may be subjected to a campaign of terror which can include verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual or physical abuse.
This goes on until the victim gives up Western behaviours and submits to the expectations of family and community. In extreme cases families will carry out an ‘honour killing’ to restore their family honour or ‘izzat’. A victim may be deemed to be ‘too Westernised’ by engaging in the following behaviours:
Karma Nirvana - tel: 0800 5999247, www.karmanirvana.org.uk
A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.
A forced marriage is when the bride, groom or both are forced into marrying against their will, usually by their families.
Men or women may be tricked into going abroad on a ‘family holiday’ and may be subjected to physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual pressure until they ‘agree’ to the marriage. Victims may be imprisoned and threatened with abandonment by their families if they resist the marriage.
Forced marriage is always an abuse of human rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis. A new Law criminalising forced marriage came into force in June 2014. Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, forcing someone into marriage in England and Wales can carry a 7-year imprisonment. The change also criminalises forcing a British national into marriage outside the UK.
Motives for a forced marriage:
Karma Nirvana - tel: 0800 5999247, www.karmanirvana.org.uk