Domestic violence is a problem that affects millions of people in all types of relationships.
The United States Department Of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of
abusive behaviour in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain
power and control over another intimate partner” also named domestic abuse or
family violence often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence,
which is committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship
against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual
or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners.
In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children,
parents, or the elderly. It takes a number of forms including physical,
verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive and sexual abuse;
which can range from subtle, coercive, forms to marital rape and to violent
physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid
throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include bride
burning, honour killings and dowry deaths (which sometimes non-cohabiting family members).
Domestic violence often occurs when the abuser believes
that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified or unlikely
to be reported. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation
of domestic violence differ from country to country.
i.Control: controlling behaviour is a way for the abuser maintains
dominance over the victim. It is often subtle, almost always insidious
and pervasive. E.g. invading their privacy, calling or coming home
unexpectedly to check up on them, forcing dependence,
ii.Physical Abuse: According to the AMEND workbook for ending Violent Behaviour,
physical violence include physical aggressive behaviour, withholding of
physical needs, indirect physically harmful behaviour, or threat of
physical abuse. E.g. hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, choking, etc
iii.Sexual Abuse: Sexual Abuse is using sex in an exploitative fashion or
forcing sex current consent. Sexual abuse may involve both verbal and
physical behaviour. This may include using force, coercion, guilt,
manipulation to have sex, making the victim have sex with others,
having unwanted sexual experiences, or be involuntarily involved in prostituting, etc
iv.Emotional Abuse and Intimidation: According to the AMEND Workbook for Ending
Violent Behaviours, emotional abuse is any behaviour that exploits another’s
vulnerability, insecurity or character. Such behaviours include continuous
degradation, intimidation, manipulation, brainwashing, or control of
another to the detriment of another.
v.Isolation: Isolation is a form of abuse often closely connected to
controlling behaviours. By keeping the victim from seeing who they want
to se, doing what they want to do, selling and meeting goals, and
controlling how the victims feel. The perpetration is isolating the victim from the resources.
vi.Verbal Abuse: verbal abuse is any abusive language used to denigrate,
embarrass or threaten the victim. This may include threatening to hurt
or kill the victim, family, pets, property or reputation. Name calling
such as ugly, bitch, whore, or stupid are all forms of verbal abuse/
vii.Using male Privilege: this is the culture that accepts the principle
and privilege of male dominance. As long as this is in place, men will
continue to be dominant and abusive.
viii.Economic Abuse: this is a way to control the victim through manipulation
of economic resources. E.g. controlling family income and not allowing access
to money. This also includes keeping financial secrets or hidden accounts,
causing the victim to lose a job, preventing them from taking a job, etc.
(iia) Domestic Violence/Abuse in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity
(BAME): the term BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people refer
to people who are not Whites by the census definition. It can also
include people who would classify themselves under ‘other Whites’.
BAME people therefore include;
Asylum seekers and refugees
Asian or Asian British people
Black (African/African Caribbean) or Black British People
People of mixed heritage
Travellers and Gypsies
‘Other White’ e.g. White Irish, Australian, French, Polish, etc. Often these group of people are marginalized, discriminated against, stereotyped, and ignored by the Whites due to religious or national interests all of which often leads tto domestic violence.
Likewise, as stated above, it is important to note that, in supporting the BAME’s relating to domestic violence or abuse, there is the need to understand their cultural and religious believes. For example, women are often held back by cultural practices which tolerate and legitimize violence against women, like wife-beating. Wife-beating is still accepted within migrant families living in the UK. Our support in this area will be diverse, such as it will include individual counselling, group counselling, family and couples counselling, mental health support etc.
Also, for the BAME Women who have been suffering from a range of domestic abuses that are hidden away from the criminal justice system due to the deep-rooted cultural and beliefs within the local African communities. We will offer counselling, mentoring and life coaching that empowers and move these women beyond their challenges, whereby they will be able to rebuild confidence, esteem and be motivated since there is the need to respect, accommodate and celebrate different cultures and traditions.
(iib) Families: like above, we support families to connect and build supportive relationships with each other while discussing common experiences and learning coping mechanisms. We also do mediation for families to (i) bringing peace to families; (ii) prevent mental health illness; (iii) heal victims of abuse;(iv) prevent divorce or separation; (v) save lives (vi) improve mental health & wellbeing
(iic) Children: The range of advice services we have for children and young people includes face-to-face counselling, one-to-one phones calls, webchat, email, forums, and face-to-face sessions.
There are different types of counselling, but the most common ones we will engage in which is also recommended for young people are:
a.Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(CBT): The approach of CBT is about thinking more positively about life, looking at how you can get stuck in patterns of behaviour and ways of changing these rather than dwelling on past events. There are typically six or 12 weekly sessions and the therapists sets goals with the young person, often with the ‘homework’ to do in between.
b.Mindfulness: we will combine Mindfulness with CBT and help a young person to focus on difficult thoughts and feeling, rather than avoiding them, so that the fear of them gradually lessens. Our Therapies can also include mediation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
c.Psychotherapy: This more long term therapy and involves talking about the effects of past events and can be more helpful with long term problems such as depression or eating disorders.
Benefits of counselling
Counselling is the most common and effective form of talking therapy. It can help young people deal with issues and events and the effects they are having on their mental wellbeing. Counselling could be recommended for young people who are basically healthy but who are struggling with a mental health disorder such as depression or eating disorders; it can address problems with anxiety, bereavement; bullying, anger, relationships, low self-esteem, and self-harm. Our counsellors would help explore the problem, the symptoms and strategies for coping.
Mental Health Support
The mental health support available for children include mental health information tailored for young people, parents, teachers and careers. When there are problems at home, such as parents fighting, divorce, or death in the family, children can become withdrawn and upset. Being able to talk to someone other than a parent is sometimes very helpful for such children. Therefore our mental help support system will carry out this task.
Clues to identifying such children
• Clues in their play: children express themselves through play as wel as words. You can learn a lot about how they are feeling by simply spending time with them and watching them play. Stressed and upset children often play fighting games with their toys
•If a child is too frightened to talk: children who are being sexually abused often do not talk about it because they think its their fault or they have been convinced by their abuser that its normal or a special secret.
•If a child is aggressive or misbehaving: if a child is fighting or being aggressive, they re doing it for a good reason, and talking may help you discover the reason.
•If the child is worried about scary news: in this digital age, it is virtually impossible to stop children from finding out about upsetting news, movies, events, that they may find traumatic. When a child is continually scared of such news, its a strong indicator of the need for mental health support
•When a child is grieving: young children don’t always understand what death means. Watch children carefully if someone close to them has died. If they seem tearful or withdrawn, encourage them to open up about how they are feeling by talking about the person who’s died.