Domestic Abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Family members are: mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister & grandparents; directly-related, in-laws or step family.
This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
- Psychological/Emotional Abuse – intimidation and threats (e.g. about children or family pets), social isolation, verbal abuse, humiliation, constant criticism, enforced trivial routines, marked over intrusiveness.
- Physical Violence – slapping, pushing, kicking, stabbing, damage to property or items of sentimental value, attempted murder or murder.
- Physical restriction of freedom – controlling who the mother or child/ren sees or where they go, what they wear or do, stalking, imprisonment, forced marriage.
- Sexual Violence – any non-consensual sexual activity, including rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, refusing safe sex or human trafficking.
- Financial abuse – stealing, depriving or taking control of money, running up debts, withholding benefits books or bank cards.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim. This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
The best option is to use private browsing in future. When you are surfing the Internet using private browsing your browser will store information only temporarily and once you close the private browsing window it will be deleted leaving no trace on your computer. Most Internet browsers have a private browsing option (although what they call it may vary). If you don’t know the type of browser you are using, see if you can find a Help option on the toolbar or other menu at the top of your browser screen; that should have a drop down menu with an entry saying “About [name of browser]” — for example, “About Google Chrome”.
Google Chrome calls private browsing “Incognito”. To open a private browsing window in Chrome, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select “New incognito window”.
Safari calls private browsing “Private”. To open a private browsing window in Safari, click on “File” in the top left-hand corner of the screen and select “New Private Window”.
Mozilla Firefox calls private browsing “Private”. To open a private browsing window in Firefox, click on the three lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select “New Private Window”.
Microsoft browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge) call it “InPrivate”. To open a private browsing window in Internet Explorer, go to settings in the top right-hand corner, click on “Safety” select “InPrivate Browsing”. To open a private browsing window in Edge, click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select “New InPrivate window”.
If you are accessing the Internet from a smartphone, there are private browsing apps available for Android and for iPhone.
Remember to close the private browsing window when you are done so that the temporary files and information will be deleted.