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Partner or Perpetrator: do you know the difference?

View profile for Nicola Deakin
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You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors

When talking about domestic abuse, I typically find that people assume only women can be victims. This is not true.

Whilst statistically the majority of cases involve a female ‘victim’ and male ‘perpetrator’, domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, background, religion, sexuality and ethnicity; domestic abuse can be perpetrated by a partner, ex-partner or family member.

More than violence

When asked ‘What constitutes Domestic Abuse’, I have found that typically people assume that it is being physically abused, being punched, slapped, head-butted, kicked. A lot of people do not know and are unaware that Domestic Abuse actually encompasses a number of behaviours and is always developing and changing with the times.

Domestic Abuse can include:

  1. Psychological abuse – e.g. name calling, manipulation, threats and ‘gas lighting’.
  2. Economic (Financial) abuse – controlling your resources and monies, making you give up work or college
  3. Sexual abuse – this does not have to be physical sexual assaults, this can include manipulation and coercion into making you perform a sexual act you do not want to engage in
  4. Coercive control – this is the exertion of power and control, the perpetrator using a pattern of behaviour of achieve the power and control
  5. Physical abuse – this is not just hitting, this can include throwing things at you, shoving or pinching/poking
  6. Digital/Online abuse – the perpetrator sending abusive text messages, demanding access to devices, sharing images of you online.
  7. Harassment and stalking

Domestic Abuse Myth #1

It is often extremely difficult subject for some to talk or speak out about domestic abuse.

I often find when speaking to clients that they find people have questioned why they didn’t leave - surely, it’s easy to end the relationship? Wrong!

People stay in relationships with a perpetrator of domestic abuse for a number of reasons, and often it is difficult as despite the abuse, the relationship would have begun with falling in love and being in love with a person who then changed.

It is rare for domestic abuse to begin immediately within a relationship. Quite often, the perpetrator will apologise for an incident or promise it will never happen again; the abused party may not have anywhere else to go, or may not be able to afford to move out of the situation they are in.

Criminal Offences & Legal Protection

A number of the behaviours perpetrated are now criminal offences and the Police can arrest, caution, or charge the perpetrator.

There are occasions that the Police are unable to take the matter further and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decide they are unable to prosecute, however this DOES NOT mean that you can’t obtain another form of legal protection. This is where a specialist domestic abuse lawyer can help you.

Always someone to turn to

Making that decision to leave and seek the support required is a huge step for anyone in a domestically abusive relationship, and they need support and understanding.

When speaking to clients, it is so important for me to make sure that those who have been subjected to abuse are signposted to right/best organisations and support networks.

I look at protective measures, have links with local domestic abuse charities and always advise my clients to seek support from their GP.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone – some of my colleagues SH&Co. team have experienced it themselves, you are not alone.

That’s why I’m always here to listen and help. Please get in touch on 01606 48777 to book a confidential chat with either myself or another specialist lawyer in our Family Law department (all new clients receive a FREE initial consultation).