Myths and facts about domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a growing issue, especially in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recent figures showed an estimated 2.4 million cases of domestic abuse cases in the year ending March 2019.

And the National Domestic Abuse Helpline received more than 40,000 calls during the first three months of the UK lockdown at the beginning of 2020.

It’s important to be able to recognise the signs of domestic abuse but there are also a lot of myths and misconceptions about it.

In this blog, we’ll shine a light on those myths and share some facts about domestic abuse.

How an abused person may think

Many myths surrounding domestic abuse come from information that an abused person is given from someone else, including their abuser.

However, some of the misconceptions are just as likely to come from the way that the abused person thinks about themselves.

First, we’ll look at some of the thoughts that an abused person might have.

“Is it my fault that I’m being abused?”

Domestic abuse is not your fault.

No one ever deserves to be abused in a relationship that’s meant to be based on mutual love and respect.

“If I wait, will the domestic abuse stop?”

Domestic abuse is unlikely to stop if you wait.

In fact, abuse tends to continue and, if anything, get worse.

“My partner is only abusive when they drink.”

Alcohol is no excuse for unacceptable behaviour of any kind, including domestic abuse.

“I wouldn’t be able to leave an abusive relationship and cope being on my own.”

If you are suffering domestic abuse, there is plenty of help and support out there for you to leave the relationship.

“Even though they abuse me, I love my partner and they love me.”

While someone suffering domestic abuse might think that their abuser still loves them, abuse has no place in a loving relationship

Busting the myths surrounding domestic abuse

A person suffering domestic abuse might have thoughts that stop them from ending the relationship.

However, it’s just as likely that they’ve heard myths or misconceptions from other people about domestic abuse.

Here are some myths about domestic abuse and the facts behind these myths.

Myth: Domestic abuse only happens in working class, unemployed or problem families

Fact:  Domestic abuse can happen to anyone

Domestic abuse can affect people regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Myth: If someone hasn’t left an abusive relationship, they must be okay with it

Fact: People stay with an abusive partner for different reasons

Staying in an abusive relationship could be due to the abused person:

  • still loving their abuser
  • being afraid to leave their abuser
  • not telling anyone about the abuse because they think no one would believe them
  • having nowhere to go or no money to leave
  • being concerned for the welfare of their children
  • fearing that they will become isolated

Myth: Someone in an abusive relationship must have provoked it somehow

Fact: No one deserves any kind of domestic abuse

Nobody in any circumstances deserves to be beaten, harmed, humiliated, controlled or treated without dignity or respect.

There is no justification for domestic abuse.

Myth: It isn’t domestic abuse because it doesn’t happen all the time

FACT: It doesn’t matter how often it happens, it is still domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can vary in how often it happens, and it can start at any point in a relationship.

Daily, weekly, monthly or infrequently, there may not be any pattern to domestic abuse.

An abuser may say that they are sorry, and it will never happen again. However, once domestic abuse has started, it usually continues.

Myth: It isn’t domestic abuse because it isn’t physical

FACT: Domestic abuse doesn’t have to involve physical violence

Domestic abuse can also include coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. 

How can you support someone if you think they are being abused?

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.

They might not be ready to talk but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.

If they have suffered physical harm, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP.

If they are ready, help them to report the abuse to the police.

National support for domestic abuse

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free and confidential helpline, available 24-hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Their website also features live online chat.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence is an award-winning free service. It allows anyone who has recently suffered or been threatened with domestic abuse or violence to apply for an emergency court injunction.

Women’s Aid offers support and advice to women experiencing domestic abuse.

For further advice on how you can support employees experiencing domestic abuse, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: Health & WellbeingOccupational Health

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