We all do it.
We think ofa victim of ‘domestic abuse’-and picture someone who’s suffered some form of physical violence.
But not all abusive relationships involve physical violence.
Psychological & Emotional Domestic Abuse can be just as damaging.
But also insidious and gradual.
It might start off with a couple arguing from time to time; but when this becomes consistent - increasingly one-sided and one partner is in fear of ‘setting off’ the other, then the relationship is not normal and has become abusive.
It’s often ignored or denied - not only by the abuser, but by the victim as well or even by people who witness the abuse.
You might think emotional or psychological abuse is all about the abuser losing their temper or losing control, but in fact, the opposite is true. Abusers use emotional or psychological abuse to control and manipulate their partner.
Emotional and psychological domestic abusers use many tactics to exert power over their victims.
The national survey on domestic abuse of women and men in Ireland
(2003) identified emotional abuse as the one of the “worst things” they had experienced in relation to their experiences of domestic abuse.
This was true for both men and women.
The study found that
(Source: Watson and Parsons, 2005).
If we witness domestic violence but choose to walk away; we leave another victim behind.
We’re not just bystanders.
But how can you tell if someone is experiencing psychological or emotional domestic abuse?
What are the signs and #whatwouldyoudo?
Someone experiencing abuse may seem:
These are some of the warning signs that a situation might be abusive:
If the person suspected of being an abuser is:
Or if the victim is:
If you notice these warning signs and suspect someone you know is being abused, don’t wait for them to approach you - follow your instincts.
Look for a private moment where you can express concern and let them know that you’re there for them.
There are several agencies in Ireland who can offer help and support.
Check out www.whatwouldyoudo.ie for a list of services and advice.
If you decide that a situation requires an intervention and you are happy that it is safe to do so, try following one or more of the three D’s.
Creating a distraction is an indirect and non-confrontational way to intervene. If you can, use a distraction that will get you a moment alone with the victim, to ask is there a problem.
Even if you don’t know the victim and the abuser, someone else might. Friends might be in a better position to get involved, and they might have a better opportunity for a sustained intervention than you.
If you’re going to try a direct approach, your best bet will probably be to approach the victim. You can simply say, you’re concerned, that you want to help and it’s not their fault.
Remember, if you suspect someone is being abused - before you get involved, ask yourself if it’s safe and legal to intervene.
If the situation is already violent or looks like its escalating quickly, do not directly intervene. Call the Gardaí on 999.
The only effective bystander intervention is a non-violent one.
If you see or suspect domestic abuse in Dublin visit whatwouldyoudo.ie or call 999
SPIN 1038 supporting Cosc
A message from Cosc and the Dormant Accounts Fund supported by SPIN 1038.