What is Domestic Violence?
According to Safe Ireland, Domestic Violence (DV) is the physical, emotional, sexual or mental abuse of one person by another within close, intimate or family relationship. In the majority of cases, women are the victims of abuse although some men are also abused by women. Often abuse can occur between same sex couples or in elderly care where the perpetrator may be a son or daughter.
Signs of Domestic Violence?
The following signs may be indicative of Domestic Violence however care must always be taking to ensure the victim is safe and not subjected to additional abuse if the perpetrator feels threatened that they may be loosing control. It should be noted that experiencing any of the following list means your relationship is abusive:
- Verbal Abuse including unwanted criticism and insults which include: shouting, mocking, name-calling and threatening behaviour.
- Control Tactics including: making you feel worthless, removing access to finance, restricting freedom to visit family and friends, telling lies to family about you or threatening to self-harm and suicide.
- Breaking Trust includes: withholding information from you, having other relationships, being jealous, lying and breaking promises or agreements.
- Isolation includes: locking or restricting your personal freedom, monitoring or blocking telephones calls, not allowing you visit family or friends.
- Disrespect includes: putting you down in front of other people, not listening or ignoring you, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money without permission or refusing to help out in the home with the children.
- Denial includes: denying the abuse ever happened, blaming you for their behaviour, being a great citizen in public, crying and begging forgiveness, telling you they will never do it again.
- Threats includes: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, screaming, breaking and punching things, wielding a gun or knife.
- Physical Violence includes: pinching, punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pulling hair out, kicking, shoving, burning, strangling or raping.
- Sexual Violence includes: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you are tired or don’t want it, force you to have sex with another person, Any degrading disregard or treatment that you do not want or find offensive.
Who is at risk of Domestic Violence?
Almost 1 in every 4 women are affected by domestic violence hence the statistics indicate clearly that more women are affected than their male counterparts. It is quite reasonable to assume that most of us will know someone who is or has suffered abuse by a partner. There is no stereotypical model that fits the role of the perpetrator however there are early warning signs that can raise red flags at an early juncture though love can sometimes be blind.
How can I protect myself from an Abusive Relationship
The best advise I can offer as a coach, and one that has been trained in domestic violence but who was a victim at one time, is to develop a set of personal boundaries and an unbreakable self-belief and confidence. This will prevent you from allowing yourself to be compromised and warn off any potential abuser as they prefer vulnerable people unlike a self-assured you. I would also suggest you listen to the feedback from family and friends who are not blind-sided by love and hormones.
If you are currently in an abusive relationship there are a lot of great FREE supports available including: Safe Ireland, DV12, Womens Aid etc. They will offer sound advise on safety planning etc and support your decision to remain in or leave the situation without any judgement or pressure.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Domestic Violence is a workplace issue as it impacts on the organisation because the victim may be late or suffering fatigue because of their home existence. (Walby et al 2010) found that during the period 2008-09, 68% of female homicides and 15% of males accounted for domestic abuse.
People experiencing domestic abuse are often subjected to disciplinary procedures and ultimately lose their jobs because their behaviour is misunderstood as they hide their grave existence. The loss of a regular income is clearly a set-back for any opportunity to exit the situation. Employers have a responsibility to provide employees with a safe and effective place of work. Employers need to enact a domestic abuse workplace policy that will send out the message that it does not tolerate this type of abuse. The impact of this should ensure experienced and skilled staff are retained within the organisation.