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Domestic violence and abuse Emergency Department leaflet

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Domestic abuse is a health issue.

Victims of domestic violence and abuse may experience the following:

  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • Depression.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Drug and alcohol dependency and repeated physical injuries.

An estimated 7.5 percent of women (1.2 million) and 4.3 percent of men (713,000) experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017. (The Crime Survey for England and Wales).

Abusive behaviour is a choice made by the abuser. It is never your fault.

If you wish to talk to someone about domestic abuse please talk to a member of staff who can help you to find support.

If you don’t feel able to approach a member of staff, please contact the helplines at the end of this page for advice and support.

How is domestic violence defined?

Domestic violence 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.

This can encompass, but is not limited to, the psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and emotional types of abuse.

Controlling behaviour

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.

Domestic abuse also includes so called honour based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Types of abuse

These include:

Psychological abuse. Constant criticism and bullying, stalking and harassment, manipulating you into doubting your sanity.

Physical abuse. Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury, withholding resources needed to maintain health.

Sexual abuse. Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent, undermining your sexuality.

Financial abuse. Making you financially dependent, taking out loans in your name, preventing you from getting or keeping a job, taking or destroying your possessions.

Emotional abuse. Shouting, threatening to harm you, humiliating, intimidating, restricting where you can go or who you can see.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anybody regardless of age, disability, gender identity, race, religion, status, belief or sexual orientation.

Advice and support

If you are affected by domestic violence and abuse or you are concerned about someone you love, for advice and support call:

And if you are concerned about your own violence and abuse towards your partner or ex-partner you can call the confidential and anonymous Respect Phone Line, telephone 0808 802 4040.

General support

For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.

  • The NHS website provides online health information and guidance.
  • NHS 111 phone line offers medical help and advice from trained advisers supported by nurses and paramedics. Available 24 hours a day. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: January 2018

Review Date: January 2023

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