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Clare Haven

Confidential Help Line

Supporting and advising women on domestic abuse

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Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Domestic Abuse?

    Domestic abuse is the term used to describe a relationship where there is persistent physical, verbal, emotional, social, financial or sexual abuse of an individual in a way that causes pain, distress or injury. Domestic abuse is behaviour that seeks to secure power and control for the abuser and to undermine the safety, security and self esteem of the abused woman.

    Domestic abuse can happen in all kinds of relationships. It can take place between couples who are married, living together or just dating. It can also happen between other family members such as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters etc.  Domestic abuse can happen to any women, regardless of her age, culture, ability, sexual orientation or social standing.

    It is difficult to accept that someone you love and who is close to you is being abusive to you. Many women blame themselves or make excuses for their partnerís abusive behaviour. If you are being abused, remember it is not your fault. Abusers use some or all of the following forms of abuse to gain power and control. The descriptions below are only examples and are not exclusive.  If you feel you are being abused contact us in confidence on our Helpline 065-6822435.



    Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, burning, hair pulling, kicking,  using weapons including household implements to cause harm.

    What is VERBAL ABUSE?

    Verbal abuse includes name calling, derogatory remarks, constant criticism, threats, etc.


    Threats to you or threatening to commit suicide, stalking, destroying property, turning children against you, harming pets are all examples of emotional or psychological abuse.

    What is SOCIAL ABUSE?

    Being isolated from family and friends, private conversations listened into, not being allowed join local groups in case friendship build up, behaving so badly in front of your family and friends that they cease to visit you in your home, using jealousy to justify his actions.


    Examples of financial abuse are - preventing you from getting or keeping a job, making you ask for money, not giving you money, selling household items to ensure that the family have no comforts.

    What is SEXUAL ABUSE?

    Rape; forcing you to participate in any sexual act against your will; being forced to watch pornography; being deprived access to contraception, making you have sex with other men for money.

    Why does a woman stay in an abusive relationship?

    There are many reasons why a woman stays in an abusive relationship. Just  some of those reasons are covered here............

    Women are taught that when they grow up, they get married, have children and live happily ever after. When violence occurs, it is translated as failure and inability on the womanís part to create a loving nurturing family unit. If she leaves her only option is to view herself as a failure. On average, it takes a woman seven years of consistent abuse before she is able to leave. Marriage is seen as an achievement, separation as a failure.
    Onset of Violence
    Prior to the abuse, the woman may have been in a relationship that was enjoyable and loving, with enough time to establish unity  and concern for each other. With the onset of violence, a woman feels confused.  Because she is emotionally involved, it is difficult for her to leave and she would always be hoping to create the past state of harmony.
    Often children may be attached to their fathers. The woman believes that if she tries harder it will be better and all right again. The woman may be faced with both indecision and the problem of sole responsibility of child rearing.
    Lack of Skills and Resources
    Some women in violent relationships are dependent on financial support from their partners. With lack of independent finance, she can't imagine how she could take care of her children.
    Lack of Support and Information
    When abuse initially occurs in a relationship the woman seeks supports from family and friends. She may leave until she feels safe to return to her home. Friends and family often encourage her to leave when they realise how serious the situation is and become sceptical of her reasons for staying. Eventually, because of feelings of ineffectiveness, friends and family withdraw their support. Often she goes home and tries harder and feels cut off from family and friends. When she eventually becomes involved in the criminal justice system, she may be faced with reluctance of help. Lack of access to information leaves the woman with restricted and limited choices.
    Low Self- Esteem
    As a result of isolation and negative criticism from their partner, the  woman tends to be immobilized by tale care of herself if she was on her  own. These feelings of worthlessness, confusion low self esteem. She believes she is a failure, no-one could love her and guilt all contribute to her inability to take action and make decisions.
    The woman is confused by the love she has for her partner and the abuse she experiences. This is even more confusing if the relationship has happy moments between the abusive episodes and the abuser claims that he loves her.
    Fear seems to be a key element in holding a woman in an abusive relationship.  Fear of being alone and fear of what her partner will do if she tries to leave. Men often threaten suicide or homicide, or they engage in desperate measures to keep their partners within their control. What we see happening is the woman begins to confuse fear and need to have control over the situation, with love. If she remains, she knows when he is angry and potentially dangerous she may be able to placate him. If she leaves him, she does not know what lengths he will go to, in order to intimidate her into coming back to him.  So we hear woman say "I am too scared to leave him, because I don't know what he will do". Some women feel the safest option for them is to stay.

    After reviewing the above question and answers, it is understandable that  many women stay in abusive relationships either because they are unaware that there are other choices available to them or because they are too fearful to leave.

    Why do some men abuse?

    There are several factors which, in combination may explain why some men abuse.

    • They get away with it
    • They have ideas about their "rights" or their masculine role within the  family
    • They view women as their property to do with as they wish
    • They deny that they have a problem
    • They react to feelings of anger and frustration with violence
    • They use violence to get what they want

    Where can 1 get more Information?

    Contact Clare Haven  Service


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