Domestic Abuse

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Health Assured team

13 January 2023

Domestic abuse can be defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence.

Domestic abuse can take many forms. Physical harm is usually assumed to be the main form of domestic abuse in a relationship. However, emotional, and psychological harm can often be the unseen abuse, which many people are unaware of at the time and may suffer for many years before the realisation comes that the relationship is toxic.

Domestic abuse can also take form where there is sexual, financial, emotional, or psychological abuse of one person against another who can be a family member or a current intimate partner or spouse, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Some examples of domestic abuse

  • Scratching, punching, biting, strangling, or kicking
  • Calling you names and putting you down
  • Unwanted kissing or touching
  • Giving you an allowance and closely monitoring purchases
  • Unreasonable demands
  • Deciding who you can or can’t be friends

Understanding behaviour in relationships is very complex and often specific to the situation. Fear of taking action to stop the abusive situation is extremely difficult to do and may only take place after several incidents have taken place, and where the police have been involved. There are many occasions where people suffering abuse are frightened to take action even when interventions have been offered by the police. It is important to seek confidential support.

Intimidation, coercion, and manipulation are often the unseen abuses in a relationship, where the victim is disempowered and demeaned into believing they have caused the problems. Support groups can help with these situations, by offering a secure and safe place to seek help.

People can also be aware of the situation, but fear taking steps and the risk of being ostracised and made to appear as the abuser. 

Coercive controlling behaviour is a serious issue within abusive relationships and is not often realised by the victim. The realisation of this can be equally distressing and leave people confused with their self-esteem which is impacted by an abusive partner or family members.


Establishing safety is key to taking the next steps and being mindful of establishing physical, emotional, and psychological barriers from the abusive person or people. 

There are support groups within the UK and the Republic of Ireland that can offer support and guidance for all adults. All Police forces will also have trained officers to deal with abusive situations. It is important to seek help and support in confidence when taking action to remove yourself from an abusive situation


Children are often impacted by domestic abuse and will suffer quietly, however, their behaviour may become different because of the abuse.

Taking the next step

  1. Register the issue with the police to establish a protection plan (keep evidence for the police to act upon)


  1. If there are child safety concerns, raise them with Children Services and the police.


  1. Seek an injunction (Non-Molestation Order- England, Wales & Northern Ireland) (Republic of Ireland- Safety Order or a Barring Order) (Scotland- Interdict- Non- Harassment Order- NHO)


  1. Details of your location can be kept confidential for security purposes if needed for protection purposes if you have moved.


  1. Try to keep any evidence and a personal diary to help you collate information to substantiate your situation.


  1. All these injunctions can include conditions to limit contact too for example without having to take criminal action against the abusive person(s)


For further information and support, please contact Health Assured where you will be able to access practical and confidential guidance.


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