Domestic violence and abuse
Domestic violence and abuse can affect women and men from a range of different backgrounds.
We also know that many children live in homes where domestic violence and abuse is happening, and this can affect their health and development.
Victims can experience abuse from partners and/or family members. Abusers may use tactics such as threats and bullying to control and isolate them.
There are many different types of abuse, including:
Physical abuse: Biting, kicking, punching, pushing and pulling hair
Emotional abuse: Verbal threats, shouting, name calling, stalking and harassment
Sexual abuse: Unwanted sexual attention e. touching you in public, demanding sex when you have said ‘no’, hurting you during sex
Financial abuse: Not allowing you to access your own money, making you ask for money to buy essential items such as nappies for children and sanitary products for yourself.
Sometimes people don't realise that they are a victim of domestic violence and abuse, and recognising the signs is not always easy. However, asking yourself if you feel afraid of your partner or a member of your family is a good starting point. It is important to remember that you are not to blame, you are not alone and that help is available.
How health visitors can help
Health visitors ask routinely about domestic violence and abuse when it is safe to do so, and we can put you in touch with organisations and support groups who can help. Health visitors also run a programme for women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence and abuse. This programme helps women to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship and empowers them to make safe choices about their future relationships.