Unfortunately, domestic abuse is all too common in society, and the lockdown measures that filled most of 2020 saw a significant rise in the number of cases. Therefore, it’s never been more important to be able to recognise the signs of domestic abuse that could threaten you or someone that you know. Here at Salmons Solicitors, our expert team work regularly to help those affected by domestic abuse and have put together this guide for spotting the signs.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic Abuse can come in a variety of forms. Just because it’s not physical harm, it doesn’t mean that it’s not domestic abuse. It’s important to understand what parameters domestic abuse can fall under before you start to search for the signs. The following examples are all types of domestic abuse:
- Physical Violence, Threats and Intimidation
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Coercive Control & Gaslighting
- Economic Abuse
- Online/Technological Abuse
This variety in the types of domestic abuse means that there are a wide range of signs that can give it away.
What Signs Should I Be Looking For?
Whether you’re concerned that you may be a victim, or you’re worried about someone that you know, there are certain signs that can give it away. In this section, we have split some of the signs into categories, relative to the type of abuse that they may relate to. However, it’s important to note that these are some but not all potential signs of domestic abuse.
Those suffering from physical abuse may be subject to beatings or other physical harm. Therefore, signs such as bruises, burns, bite marks or other injuries can reveal this type of domestic abuse. However, physical abuse sometimes doesn’t extend to physical violence as threats and intimidation can also be a form of domestic abuse.
Signs of someone being threatened and intimidated can be seen if they’re feeling scared about their partner’s reaction and thereby changing their behaviour to suit them. An abuser may also subject a family member or pet to harm or threatening behaviour.
It’s important to note that sexual abuse can occur both in or out of a relationship. When it happens within a relationship, it’s domestic abuse. An example of this is if your partner is pressuring you into sex when you don’t want it. Sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily have to be physical either. According to the domestic abuse charity, Refuge, they may manipulate or coerce you into doing things that you don’t want to do.
Coercive Control and Gaslighting
Those that fall victim to domestic abuse are often subject to gaslighting or being controlled by their partner. Coercive control is when an abuser tries to exert power and control using a pattern of behaviour over time. This can include acts of physical violence, threats and intimidation to harm or frighten the victim.
Gaslighting is where abusers manipulate a person by forcing them to question their own thoughts and memories. This is dangerous as it can sometimes reach a point where the person begins to question their own sanity. Signs of this can include but are not restricted to the person not feeling like themselves, being more anxious and confident than they used to be or apologising often. Victims of this kind of abuse may also feel isolated from their friends and family or not be allowed to leave the house for any reason.
Often, abusers can look to gain control over their partners through their money. A sign of this is if your finances are being controlled, or if you are being deprived of money to buy food or pay your bills.
It’s important to note that domestic abuse is never the fault of the victim. Being told that the abuse that you’re suffering is your fault or that you’re overreacting is domestic abuse in itself. Not only that, but comments from your partner intended to belittle you or question your worth are also domestic abuse.
Online Technological Abuse
Unfortunately, as many of our lives have moved to include technology and social media, domestic abuse has made the move with us. A clear sign of online or technological abuse is if your partner reads your emails, texts or social media. You are entitled to privacy when using your personal phone and online accounts and should only share on your terms.
How can Salmons Solicitors Help With My Domestic Abuse Case?
Here at Salmons Solicitors, our expert team work hard to bring cases of domestic violence to an amicable solution. Our expert family law department can help apply civil law to protect you and your family. To put an end to the domestic abuse that you’re suffering, our family law department can assist you with seeking the following two civil orders:
A non-molestation order could prevent your abuser from intimidating, harassing and threatening/using violence upon you.
An occupation order could also be available to exclude your abuser from the home that you share. On some occasions, the abuser may also still be expected to pay the rent or mortgage.
If you are married and your partner is subjecting you to domestic abuse, you may also have grounds for a divorce. All that needs to be proved to begin a divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This can be proved by establishing one or more of the five ‘facts’ for divorce:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Desertion for two years
- A two year separation with your spouse’s consent
- A five year separation without your spouse’s consent
For each of these grounds, except number four, it may be possible to get a divorce without needing your partner to agree. It’s important to note that if you have experienced domestic abuse, you will also not need to enter mediation with your ex and can be seen separately.
Get in touch with us today
If your partner is subjecting you to domestic violence or you believe that there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, you should always call 999. However, when considering civil orders and divorce proceedings, you can rely on Salmons Solicitors.
We understand how stressful the breakdown of a long-term relationship can be, whether you’re married or not. You may be worried about what will happen to your house, income, children or all three. However, that’s where our expert team led by Sharon Winston can help. Thanks to extensive experience in domestic abuse cases they’re qualified to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. If you would like to get in touch, please contact us. We’re happy to arrange a meeting at a venue that’s local and convenient for you and will walk you through every option available. We work hard to provide a professional, friendly and personal service in all of our family law services. .