Domestic violence occurs in all walks of life – all cultures, backgrounds, ages and genders, and Irish society is no different. That is because perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life regardless of their race, culture, age, profession or financial standing. While every person’s experience of the violence is individual and personal to them, including what forms the violence took or for how long their endured it, what unites them is that it is never their fault.
Domestic violence is the abuse of power over another person in an intimate or close family relationship, by the perpetrator, to maintain absolute control, in every way. It refers to the use of physical or emotional force or threat of physical force. It takes many forms from physical to psychological, financial to sexual and also coercive control. The term ‘domestic violence’ goes beyond actual physical violence. It also involve emotional torture; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and communication with others. Unfortunately myths like, alcohol and drugs cause domestic violence, that it is an anger management issue or it is a private matter between a couple, are still believed.
Children who live with domestic abuse learn quickly that talking about it is unacceptable and may be dangerous. They face both the threat of suffering trauma from witnessing / hearing the abuse and being physically assaulted themselves directly or while trying to intervene and protect a parent or sibling. They often develop, grow and live with fear as part of their lives.