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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse/violence is the systematic use of power and coercive control in an intimate or family setting, most commonly perpetrated by men and experienced by women, but also from woman to woman in a same sex relationship, in order to exert power and control.

It can take many forms, including:

  • Emotional, psychological or mental abuse – including intimidation, humiliation, threats of violence, the destruction of self confidence, being told you are unlovable, useless, stupid, a bad mother, wife or lover.
  • Physical violence – ranging from slaps, kicks and blows to serious physical assault or murder.
  • Sexual violence – including the use of force, threatening or intimidating behaviour to make you perform sexual acts; rape; having sex with you against your wishes; forcing you to look at pornographic material; forcing you to have sex with other people; any degrading treatment related to your sexuality.
  • Isolation – you may be virtually imprisoned and powerless in your own home, cut off from family and friends. Relationships may be strictly controlled so you are only permitted to meet or talk with friends or family when monitored or watched.
  • Harassment and stalking – through social media, excessive text messages or phone calls.
  • Threats of violence – against children or pets are a common method of control, used to force compliance.
  • Economic or financial abuse – control of the family finances; withholding money for food, clothes, and household expenditure; taking your earnings or benefit money or denying access to it; making you account for every penny spent; you being forced to be totally financially dependent.
  • Spiritual abuse – use of inappropriate interpretation of Jewish law to make you do things; denying your access to Jewish authorities; making you feel like you are not a good Jewish wife or are not running a good Jewish home; or preventing you from practising your religion in the way you want to.