TALK ABOUT ABUSE
Anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse, it happens across all walks of life whatever a person’s age, gender or ethnic background and between same sex couples as well as in heterosexual relationships.
The main purpose of domestic violence and abuse is to gain and maintain control over another person. It can take the form of physical violence, emotional bullying, manipulation, sexual abuse, financial control and neglect, by using force and threats to control another person.
Psychological, or emotional abuse as it is more often known, unlike physical abuse, is often more elusive. It is equally as destructive as physical abuse as it destroys the victim’s confidence and self-
The scenario we often associate with abuse is that the abuser is the man and the victim the women, however studies show that men and women abuse each other at equal rates.
Children of an abusive relationship also suffer even if the abuse is not directed at them as they too become victims from what they see and hear. As they often love both parties they are frequently forced to lead a life of confusion, fear, and anxiety.
Financial abuse is a form of emotional abuse as it is also a way an abuser can use to control their victim. In a domestic relationship it can involve physical violence but more often the abuser's aim is to exert power by controlling their victim's money which can leave them feeling isolated, trapped and afraid to make any purchases without asking permission. As with all abuse it can occur in any type of relationship and victims are predominately women but they can be men, or other vulnerable adults such as the elderly or those who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.
In a domestic relationship it can include, stopping their partner working, making them hand over their wages or benefits, making them account for every penny they spend even from the money they may have earned, controlling their bank account and not letting them spend any money on themselves or their children, as well as running up debts in their name.
With the elderly or vulnerable it can spotted by large sums of money being withdrawn from their bank accounts, or perhaps an additional name appearing on their bank account or ATM card. Other signs are, abrupt changes in wills or financial documents, unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions, or a transfer of assets to a family member or other person outside of the family unbeknown to the elderly victim.
Under the new Domestic Abuse Law, all emotional abuse and controlling behaviour is now recognised as a criminal offence and can result in imprisonment.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship, the most telling one being fear of your partner or another family member carer or friend. If you feel like you have to walk a tight rope around someone—constantly watching what you say and do in order not to anger them—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs may include being with someone who belittles you or tries to control you and your money and feelings of self-
If you are in an abusive relationship, recognising and admitting it is the first step to breaking free and then seeking help is the second step. You may find this difficult to do as it will mean admitting to another person, let alone yourself, that you are the victim of abuse and it needs courage and determination to make changes to your life. No-
If after reading this article you recognise that you are in a relationship that is abusive, your local Citizens Advice maybe your first port of call. We will treat your situation with complete confidence, listen to you without judgement and can direct you to organisations who have experienced counsellors who are trained to help you.
Your Adviser at the bureau can also help you with securing legal advice and sorting out your financial situation such as access to benefits, budgeting and dealing with any debts you have, as well as directing you to organisations that will help you find somewhere safe to stay in the short term and somewhere to live more permanently.
So if what you have read rings true with you, be brave and find someone trusting you can talk to, then seek help.
If you are a relative or friend of a person you know is being abused, try and find a way to encourage them to talk to you about it and also to seek the help and support they need.
Useful organisations include:
Victim Support.org.uk (08 08 16 89 111) Women's Aid (0808 2000 247)
Suffolk Rape Crisis ( 0800 0850 520) Care2Talk (07564 016066)
Men's Advice Line (0808 801 0327)
Sudbury and District Citizens Advice
CO10 1QN Telephone: 01787 321400 -
Telephone Advice: Monday to Thursday (10-
We also offer drop-