We all do it.
We think of a 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.
What is Psychological & Emotional Domestic Abuse?
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 andParsons, 2005)
Examples of emotional and psychological abuse
Signs of Psychological & Emotional Domestic Abuse
But how can you tell if someone is experiencing Psychological or Emotional Abuse?
What are the signs and #whatwouldyoudo?
When you’re concerned about someone you know:
Someone experiencing abuse may seem:
When you’re concerned about a stranger:
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:
Advice if you’re concerned about someone you know:
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.
Advice if you’re concerned about a stranger:
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 if there is 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, that you’re concerned, that you want to help and that 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 it's 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 (Insert area) visit
whatwouldyoudo.ie or call 999
SPIN South West supporting Cosc
A message from Cosc and the Dormant Account Fund supported by - SPIN South West