There are many different forms of abuse but any behaviour towards someone that causes deliberate harm can be considered as abuse. Abuse is often insidious; it is not uncommon for people to not realise that they are being abused or to deny it even to themselves. But, abusive behaviour can have a serious impact on our long-term mental health
There are many different forms of abuse. If you think that you or someone you know is being abused, there are signs that you can look out for. Abuse can be inflicted by anyone that the victim knows including family members, partners or friends. In many cases, the victim may feel shame at what is happening and fear of their abuser that prevents them from reaching out and seeking help. In some cases, particularly with emotional abuse, the victim may not even be aware that they are being abused.
Physical abuse refers to any intentional harm or injury caused to another person. It could include hitting, burning, choking, pushing, throwing things or sexual assault. Aside from physical injuries, abuse of this kind can lead to serious emotional injury. Abusers are typically someone from within the victim’s immediate social circle, they may be adept at hiding their behaviour and the injuries they inflict
Emotional abuse can be difficult to spot, it refers to an abuser gaining control and power over their victim by being aggressive, manipulative or belittling them. They might make threats, blame the victim for real or imagined problems, they could try to isolate them from friends and family and be verbally aggressive. This type of abuse in particular can surface slowly, if you see signs of coercive behaviour or a relationship in which one partner is very controlling these could be indications of emotional or other abuse.
Sexual abuse encompasses any form of unwanted touching or being coerced into a sexual act without consent. Sexual abuse occurs to men and women and the abuser will often be a family member, close friend or partner. It is important to remember that no one should feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to.
Domestic Violence refers to any kind of threatening behaviour between two people who are or have been in a relationship. Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial or psychological, it is about one person having control over the other. There are a number of agencies and organisations who can provide specialist help and advice regarding domestic violence.
Anyone who suffers abuse of any kind will need help, abuse can cause long-term emotional and physical issues. The type of support they will require varies from case to case, certainly friends and family can play their part. But sometimes a counsellor or therapist who specialises in helping survivors of abuse can provide a safe environment in which to deal with what has happened.
If you are concerned that someone you know is being abused, let them know they have your support. They might not be ready to acknowledge the situation or to reach out for professional help but knowing that someone is on their side will make a huge difference.
The below links provide information on organisations who can provide advice and support: