Support for Stalking, Harassment and Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse means an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by a partner, ex-partner or family member. It is based on one person having power or control over another, and it often gets worse over time. Domestic abuse doesn’t just mean physical violence, and it can include:

  • Coercive control: a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence;

  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse;

  • Physical abuse;

  • Sexual abuse;

  • Financial abuse;

  • Harassment and stalking;

  • Online or digital abuse;

Anyone can be abused, regardless of their social background, age, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Domestic abuse doesn’t just happen between partners, it can also happen within families or in shared homes. Domestic Violence doesn’t always mean physical violence. If you feel scared of your partner or someone at home because of things that they say and do, or are forced to change your behaviour because you are frightened of their reaction, you might be experiencing domestic abuse.

Support for domestic abuse

 

What is a Forced Marriage?

forced marriage is one in which one or both of the people getting married do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage and coercion is involved.  Coercion may include emotional force, physical force, threats of violence, or financial pressure. Forced marriage is a criminal offence in the UK.

There is a clear difference between forced marriage and arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, while families may take a lead, the choice of whether to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.

If families have to resort to violence or coercion to make someone marry, that person’s consent has not been given freely and it is therefore considered a forced marriage.

Support for forced marriage

 

What is Honour-Based Violence?

There is no single definition of honour-based violence, as it is a complex issue. It can be described as a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other groups. This is done to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and or honour. Abuse and violence can happen when perpetrators think that a relative has “shamed” the family or community by breaking their “honour” code.

Most victims of honour-based violence are women and girls, although it can affect men and boys too. Often there is no single perpetrator and victims can be at risk from close or extended family or community members.

Honour-based violence is not justified by any culture or religion and is a human rights issue.

Support for honour-based violence

 

Rape and Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. If someone intentionally grabs or touches you in a sexual way that you don’t like, if you’re forced to kiss someone or do something else sexual against your will, this is sexual assault.

If you are forced to have sex with someone, or someone has sex with you without your consent or agreement, this is rape.

If this has happened to you, it is important to remember that it is not your fault. No-one ever asks to be raped or assaulted, or deserves it. Rape and sexual assault are criminal offences, and the blame lies with the abuser.

Support for rape and sexual violence

 

Stalking: is it happening to you?

Stalking means persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered, harassed and threatened. This can include a range of behaviour, the important thing is that you find it unwanted and unwelcome. Stalking can happen to anyone. Most people know their stalker in some way, but some people don’t or may have only had a brief encounter with them.

Stalking can build up slowly over time, and it may be very subtle or even feel flattering at the beginning. This this can make it hard to recognise. Stalking can also go on for a long time, which can make you feel overwhelmed and worried that it will never stop.

However, stalking is a crime and is not something you should have to put up with.

Are you being stalked? Do you recognise any of the following?

  • Repeated unwanted contact, by phone, text, in person or online

  • Unwanted gifts, even if they seem like nice things such as flowers

  • Gifts that might not seem strange to anyone else, but might have significant meaning to you which makes you feel threatened

  • Persistently trying to get around any measures you may take to avoid contact, such as making fake online profiles to contact you if you block them

  • Contacting your friends and family in person, online or by phone, as a way of getting to you

  • Always seeming to know where you are and what you are doing, making you feel like you are being watched

  • Turning up at work or school

  • Hanging around places you may be, even if they don’t speak to you

  • Damaging your property or property of your family and friends

  • Using threats to coerce you into meeting them

  • Spreading stories about you to other people

  • Persistent breaching of orders that may have been put in place to protect you

  • Making you fear that violence will be used against you. They may have been violent to you in the past, making this threat feel very real

 

These are just some of the ways a stalker may try to get to you, you may have experienced others.

Support for stalking and harrassment