All too often, particularly if it occurs over a long period of time, victims of domestic abuse seek advice from us, not really realising the extent of the abuse. They become desensitised.
Many of our clients, on speaking with us, tell us things like “my ex-partner was constantly shouting at me and telling me I was fat”; “my ex-partner didn’t used to hit me, they would just push me around a bit, get right up into my face in a frightening manner. I didn’t really suffer any injuries as a result”; “my ex-partner would constantly ask where I was going, check my phone and not let me go out or have contact with my friends or family. I became really isolated”. These are just some examples of the types of things that we commonly hear, sadly all too often.
A large section of members of the public still consider domestic abuse to only be related to physical incidents of domestic violence resulting in injury.
The Government cross definition of domestic abuse is “any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality”.
Some of the common types of domestic abuse that we assist people with, as well as physical violence are emotional abuse, threats and intimidation, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, stalking and harassment.
Common signs that you are or someone you know is being subjected to emotional abuse may include being belittled or put down; being blamed for the abuse or arguments; the abuser denying that abuse is happening or playing it down; isolating you from family and friends; stopping you from going to college or work; making unreasonable demands for your attention; accusing you of flirting or having affairs; telling you what to wear, who to see, where to go and what to think; controlling your money or not giving you enough to buy food or other essential things.
Indicators of threats and intimidation include, but are not limited to, if the perpetrator threatens to hurt or kill you; destroys things that belong to you; stands over you and/or invades your personal space; threatens to kill themselves or any children of the family; reads your emails, texts, letters, etc.; harasses or follows you.
People of any age, male or female, can find themselves subject to sexual abuse, signs of which include you being touched in a way you don’t want to be; the abuser making unwanted sexual demands; you being hurt during sex; pressure to have unsafe sex, for example not using a condom; you being pressured to have sex in any manner. If your partner forces you to have sex and you do not want to, this is nothing less than rape.
If you are being subjected to any of the behaviours described above, or have any other concerns you may be suffering domestic abuse, please do not suffer in silence. Please seek help as a matter of urgency. Staff at this firm are very experienced, patient, sympathetic and sensitive when dealing with people who have been subjected to all different kinds of domestic abuse. If you are scared that you are at risk of immediate harm, then call the Police.
If you or anyone you know is currently being subjected to domestic abuse, please do not hesitate to contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com for advice as to what action it may be possible to take in the Family Courts to secure Orders to protect yourself.
A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what measures you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.
If Social Services have become involved with your family as a result of domestic abuse or for any other reason, then do not hesitate to contact the Care Department at Emery Johnson Astills and of our specialist solicitors will be able to advise and assist you.