The statistics for domestic abuse in the U.K. are damning. Women in the Greater Manchester area may be aware that two women are killed every week as a result of abuse by a partner and that it impacts 25 per cent of women during their lifetime. Domestic abuse is not limited to causing physical harm to a partner but can present itself in other ways, and although in most instances the abusers are male, it should be noted that women can also be perpetrators of domestic abuse and men can also be the victims.
When she was speaking about the various forms of domestic abuse, the chief executive of Women's Aid described it as a form of power and control over a victim. Abusive relationships are not limited to physical intimidation or injury but can also be verbal, forcing domination using emotional or psychological oppression, and it can also take the form of sexual or financial coercion. These types of behaviours can be precursors to a pattern of physical attacks that may emerge over time.
Awareness of the various forms of abuse has been circulated by a series of tweets under the hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou. The tweets give examples of unacceptable and controlling behaviour such as isolating a partner from friends and family or repeated criticism of a person's physical or behavioural aspects. Women's Aid said that domestic abuse included the erosion of the victim's self-respect and dignity and that the tweets were a powerful tool in highlighting this.
Most grounds for divorce require months or even years to pass before they are deemed a valid reason but the exception is if a partner behaves in a unreasonable manner. A solicitor with experience in family law cases may be well positioned to provide legal advice regarding divorce proceedings to a victim of domestic abuse.