Domestic Abuse Basic Awareness Training

We hope you enjoy this free training

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‘Hysterical’

Calling women ‘hysterical’ if they appear distressed, upset or disturbed often discounts their experiences. Other labels used can include, but are not limited to, “unstable” or “over-reacting”, “unable to keep their emotions in check”.  These statements are routed in sexism.

Another thing to note is that the description of being hysterical is provided by the alleged abuser. Often abusers will try to manipulate professionals in a bid to sabotage the victims’ credibility and to minimise or detract from the abuse.

Language is extremely important in documentation as the documentation will provide a narrative of what is happening and will often determine what course of action will be needed next.

Documentation may be called for as evidence in both civil and criminal cases, including family court for protective orders or child contact arrangements.

‘Male appeared calm and assisted with enquiries’
We cannot assume that because one party displays anger and aggression or is less in control of their emotions that they are a primary perpetrator. It is a myth that perpetrators “lose control” or have anger management issues when they abuse their partners. Domestic violence is the most often, the opposite of losing control; perpetrators know what they are doing and use their abusive tactics of choice to maintain dominance in the relationship.
Verbal argument only
It is important to remember that many couples argue, but for an argument to escalate to the point that the neighbours fear for a person’s safety that they phone the police on the emergency number, this should warrant further in-depth investigation. Statements such as “verbal argument only” will minimise harm and fear caused by verbal abuse. In turn it will also minimise the victims experience of the incident. The danger of using language that may minimise an abusive incident is that it will send a message to victims that the act was not abusive and if the victim felt it was abusive then they are over-reacting. Over time, this can lead to an escalation of abuse if the warning signs are not spotted, or intervention is not offered at the earliest opportunity. Furthermore, the statement ‘Verbal Argument Only’ suggests that only physical violence is worthy of investigation. However, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as:  Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following—
  • (a)physical or sexual abuse;
  • (b)violent or threatening behaviour;
  • (c)controlling or coercive behaviour;
  • (d)economic abuse (see subsection (4));
  • (e)psychological, emotional or other abuse;
The act makes it clear that verbal abuse is part of domestic abuse.