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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is an abuse of power, where one person in a relationship uses a variety of tactics to gain and maintain power and control over the other person.

An abuser will use a variety of tactics, including physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse to maintain control.

Domestic violence is not a single incident, but is a pattern of behaviour which is used to gain and maintain control over the other person, often over a long period of time. Many abusers tactics are subtle and the impacts are hard to recognise.

Domestic violence takes many forms, including physical violence and coercion, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation and threats of violence.

Please find some examples below of the different types of abuse and the possible effects:

Physical Abuse
Punching, slapping, nipping, tripping, breaking bones, strangling, kicking, pushing.

Effects: Broken bones, black eyes, bruising, hair loss, shaking, concussion, hearing loss, missing or broken teeth, DEATH.

Verbal Abuse
Name calling, put downs, humiliation, threatening, undermining, sneering, brainwashing, using abusive language, shouting, snide comments.

Effects: Lose of self confidence, no self worth, breakdown in healthy communication, depression, inability to cope, indecisiveness, anger, frustration.

Emotional Abuse
Degradation, criticism, controlling behaviour, threatening violence, ignoring, withholding love or support, isolation, bullying.

Effects: Depression, suicidal tendencies, abuse of drugs/alcohol, low motivation, little or no self esteem, desperation, distress, becoming withdrawn, a sense of powerlessness, reluctance to trust, insecurity, anxiety, misdirected anger.

Sexual Abuse:
Rape, demanding sex against someone's wishes, being forced to engage in degrading sexual acts, using sex as blackmail, sexual harassment.

Effects: Unwanted pregnancies, disease, loss of confidence and self esteem, fear of sex, damage to present and future relationships.

Social Abuse
Effects: Lack of confidence, restricted communication, isolation, no self esteem, embarrassment.

Financial Abuse
Effects: Loss of dignity, restricted lifestyle, lack of basic human needs such as clothes/food.

Problems of alcohol or drug misuse cannot cause, or justify domestic violence, although their use may make the violence worse.

Domestic violence occurs within relationships regardless of social class, race, religion, cultural identity or education and it occurs in both urban and rural areas.

Every person has the right to live a life free from violence.

ODVSS, Offaly Domestic Violence Support ServicesCormac Street, Tullamore, Offaly, Ireland    E-mail: info@odvss.ie
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