What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is the intentional
and persistent physical,
emotional, sexual or mental abuse of one person by another, with whom
they have or have had an intimate relationship. Over 90% of reported cases of
such violence are by men against women.
Domestic violence is rarely a
one-off event. It tends to escalate in frequency and severity over time.
It can be physical and can include: slapping,
punching, beating, kicking, knife wounds — often leading to permanent
injuries and sometimes death.
It can be sexual abuse, this could include being
forced to have sex against your will, sexual degradation and forcing sex
in ways that hurt and injure.
violence can also result in emotional
and mental harm caused for example by constant criticism, being told
that you are useless, ugly, worthless or humiliating you in public.
Threats to kill or harm you or the children, intimidation, bullying,
being locked in or kept in isolation away from family and friends,
withholding money, food, sleep and being made a prisoner in your own
home:- all these are patterns of abuse experienced by many women.
violence is the use of physical or emotional force or threat within close adult
relationships in a way that causes harm or distress to victims. In
addition to actual or threatened physical or sexual assault and damage to
property, domestic violence includes non-physical intimidation, such as
persistent verbal abuse, emotional blackmail and enforced social or financial
deprivation. Having abused once, perpetrators usually persist, intensifying
and escalating the maltreatment." Northern Ireland Office Policy
A quarter of all
women experience domestic violence at some stage in their lives and
almost half the women who are murdered are killed by their
partners. And violent men come from all economic, cultural and
year in Northern Ireland around 17,000 women contact Women’s Aid for
advice and around 3000 women and children stay in refuges.
If you would like to
order any of our publications on domestic violence please