Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is domestic abuse a ‘one off?’

A: Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident. It is often part of a series of abusive and controlling behaviours which may become more frequent and escalate over time.

Q: Is domestic abuse a private matter between couples and others shouldn’t get involved?

A: Domestic abuse is not a private matter. It is against the law and if affects everyone. We all have a responsibility to speak out against it.

Q: Are most abusive incidents caused by alcohol and drug use?

A: Many people who have alcohol issues are not abusive to their partners; similarly many perpetrators are not substance users.

Q: Is domestic abuse the same as having an ‘anger problem?’

A: People get angry all of the time, however, not everyone chooses to become abusive. Anger doesn’t cause abuse. This is a conscious choice made by the perpetrator who will often show their ability to control their anger by becoming very calm and reasonable when explaining their behaviour.

Q: Is it true that domestic abuse only happens to ‘those people’ who live on housing estates?

A: Any woman can be abused. Any woman you may come into contact with; your work colleague, your GP, your daughter, your child’s teacher, your ‘snooty’ neighbour, your sixteen year old daughter’s best friend, the women who drives the bus that takes you to work, your dentist, your sister, your health visitor …. YOU.

Q: Is it the woman’s fault for provoking him?

A: No-one deserves to be beaten, raped, swore at, spat on, screamed at, ignored, threatened, controlled … murdered. The so called provocation has often simply been asking for money for food, wearing lipstick, having a friend or parent visit, not being home on time – it can be just about anything!

Q: If thing were that bad, wouldn’t she leave?

A: Women stay in abusive relationships for many reasons, all ranging from love to fear. There are practical reasons why women don’t leave, afraid of being found, worried about losing their home, possessions and even their children. The reasons are endless.

Q: Is it true that perpetrators are not loving or affectionate partners?

A: The perpetrator may be extremely loving and passionate towards his partner. This behaviour may keep the woman full of hope in the relationship.

Q: Is there any point in helping her, won’t she always go back?

A: When a woman in contemplating whether to stay or leave the forces that are telling her to go are as strong as those telling her to stay. The woman may leave to see if she is able to cope, only to return to see if he has changed, as promised.

Q: Is it true that some women say they are victims of domestic abuse so they will get housing?

A: Living in a refuge is not easy. The woman has to live by another set of rules and regulations, she may have to share the living space with many other women and their children and the refuge may be in an area she is not familiar with. As for housing, she may have to wait a long, long time for a property to become available and then it may be in an area which is not of her choosing.

Q: Is it true that it’s not domestic abuse if it’s not physical?

A: Domestic abuse can be verbal, financial, sexual, emotional, spiritual and physical. An abusive relationship can involve all of these behaviours or only some.

Q: Does domestic abuse happen in gay/lesbian relationships?

A: Domestic abuse does exist in gay and lesbian relationships. Gay men and lesbians can also be abused with homophobia as part of the controlling behaviour and attitudes.

Q: Can a woman be raped or sexually abused by her partner or husband?

A: Forced or non-consensual sex within a marriage or relationship is rape. It is exactly the same as forced or non-consensual sex outside of a marriage or relationship.

Q: He’s not himself when he is abusive to me.

A: Well who is he them? We all have a responsibility for our behaviour – how we behave is our choice. The same is true for a perpetrator of domestic abuse.