What is Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse or Domestic Violence as it was named in the past is, any incident of controlling coercive or threating behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 years or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their sexuality or gender.

Being a victim can happen to anyone regardless of age, social background, gender, disability or ethnicity. Just one incident counts as abuse.

Types of abuse

  • Emotional  involves nonphysical behaviour that belittles another person and can include insults, put down, verbal threats or other tactics that make the victim feel threatened, inferior, ashamed or degraded.
  • Financial a perpetrator using or misusing money which limits and controls their partner’s current and future actions and their freedom of choice. It can include using credit cards without permission, withholding or controlling their money, putting contractual obligations in their partner’s name, and gambling with family assets.
  • Physical   is when someone hurts or harms another person or child on purpose. It includes: hitting with hands or objects. slapping and punching.
  • Psychological sometimes referred to as verbal or emotional abuse, involves the intentional infliction of mental anguish or the provocation of fear of violence or isolation to another person.
  • Sexual  is sexual behaviour or a sexual act forced upon a woman, man or child without their consent. Sexual abuse includes abuse of a woman, man or child by a man, woman or child. Sexual abuse is an act of violence which the attacker uses against someone they perceive as weaker than them. It does not come from an uncontrollable sex drive, but is a crime committed deliberately with the goal of controlling and humiliating the victim.

Domestic Abuse also includes Honour based and arranged marriages.

Many victims do not recognise they are a victim of domestic abuse and often do not realise their relationship is unhealthy as it can be a gradual process that is not always obvious or visible to themselves or others.

Have you noticed your partner or a family member?

  • Stopping you from or making you feel guilty about seeing, friends, family members or work colleagues both in and out of work, wanting to be with you all the time isolating you from others
  • Checking you’re your phone messages or social media, becoming paranoid or jealous about your communications with other people
  • Deciding what you should wear, or being unkind and putting you down if you change your appearance with a new hair colour or style.
  • Control the amount of money you have when doing the shopping and checking the receipts or always coming shopping with you so they can see what you are buying

If you or someone you know is in a relationship and you are worried that your or their partner may have an abusive past.


What is Clare’s Law?

Clare’s Law gives you a formal way to ask the police about your partner’s past. You can do this if you are worried that they may have been abusive or violent before.

You can also ask if you have concerns about the partner of someone you know. The police will check to see if that person has a record of domestic abuse. They will also look for any other information to suggest he or she poses a risk of abusive behaviour.

If they find concerning information, the police will then share this with the person at risk of abuse. This means that person can make a more informed decision about whether to continue with the relationship.

It also helps them access further help and support in dealing with an abusive relationship. Anyone in any kind of intimate or emerging relationship can use the scheme.

In certain circumstances, it can even be used where a two people have recently separated and there is still a risk of abuse.

Support in Hertfordshire





Please contact the CHEXS Family Support Team if you would like support or advice