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  • Writer's pictureKay Bingham

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

There is a common misconception that domestic violence, domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence, is when your partner who you live with harms you physically, such as a punch in the face or even more extreme, murder. And while this is easy to identify as violence, domestic violence is not only physical abuse. Domestic abuse is so much more than this.

Image: Sydney Syms

The new Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 will create a statutory definition of domestic abuse to include emotional, coercive, or controlling and economic abuse. So, what does this mean?

In a nutshell, emotional or psychological abuse can include things like gaslighting, harassment and stalking. Gaslighting, put very simply, is the act of manipulation in order to gain more control, and is achieved by influencing a person so much that they question their thoughts, memories and events happening around them, to the point that they doubt their own reality and even their sanity. It can feel like you are literally going crazy and losing your mind.

Gaslighting is a slow process and wears you down over time. It can include snide comments and will often have compliments attached to confuse you even more. This can lead to you telling yourself you’re being oversensitive and end up minimising what’s happening, and you may somehow believe it’s your fault. Consequently, gaslighting can be difficult to spot.

Coercive control is explained as a pattern of intimidating, degrading, isolating and control with the threat of physical or sexual violence – either towards you or someone you love or care for. This can happen in a variety of ways, including threats to kill or harm your pets, children, or family members.

Image: Kat J

Financial or economic abuse can happen when you have no access to the family income or your property is damaged, or you may possibly have no or limited access to food, electric, or your opportunities with employment, education or benefits are meddled with.

The new Bill also acknowledges that you do not have to live with someone for the abuse to be defined as domestic abuse. The perpetrator can be intimate partners, ex-partners, family members or individuals who share parental responsibility for a child. The bill defines it as being, “personally connected”, so is much broader than we may initially imagine.

Figures in England and Wales for 2019, estimate that 5.7% of adults experienced domestic abuse, which may not sound so big, but that’s over two million adults. In one year. That’s a lot of people. Many believe that domestic abuse can only be experienced by women, however some men experience domestic abuse too. The Bill aims to includes all people affected by domestic abuse and is intentionally written in gender neutral language.

That said, domestic abuse is often described as ‘gender-based crime’. This is because domestic abuse affects women disproportionately, with domestic abuse being deeply rooted in societal inequalities between men and women for many generations. The Bill will also focus on the gendered nature of domestic abuse and the devastating impact it can have on children who experience domestic abuse too.

Image: Kat J

Domestic abuse is a complex issue. If you or your children have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to work with me, please get in touch

or call 07908874708.

Additional support services can be found on my website by clicking this link

If you’d like to read more information about the new Domestic Abuse Bill 2020, click here:

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