Abuse imageThere are many forms of abuse, these include; physical, psychological (emotional), sexual, financial, verbal and self harm. Domestic violence is an abuse of human rights within a relationship where there should be trust and love. It often involves a number of the forms of abuse and can occur between partners, parents and children and toward the elderly (elder abuse). Domestic violence happens across society, whatever gender, race, sexuality, social class or age people are.
Suffering abuse of any sort can be frightening and leave one feeling helpless. People who abuse others do so primarily to gain control and power. Without their abusive behaviour they feel inferior in some way. Counselling for abuse within relationships may thus include counselling for the abuser to understand and challenge his or her abusive actions. The majority of the time, an abuser would not seek counselling for themselves and so in the main people who have counselling for abuse are the victims.

If you are uncertain whether you or someone close to you is suffering abuse ask yourself these questions. (These questions may apply to a close family member rather than a partner.)…..

Are you ever frightened of your partner?
Does your partner put you down in front of other people?
Have you ever changed your behaviour because you are scared of what your partner might say or do?
Does your partner stop you from seeing your friends or family? Or do you avoid your friends and family because you are embarrassed about how your partner treats you?
Has your partner ever hurt you or your children, or threatened to do so?
Has your partner ever damaged or destroyed any of your possessions?
Does your partner have a bad or unpredictable temper?
Has your partner ever forced you to have sex, or perform sexual acts, when you didn’t want to?
Is your partner jealous or possessive? Does your partner accuse you of having affairs or flirting when it isn’t true? Does your partner check up on you, read your emails and messages, or follow you?
Does your partner threaten to commit suicide, or self-harm, or harm someone else if you were to leave?
Does your partner not allow you access to money when you need it, or your phone or transport? Are your finances rigidly controlled, or do you have to account for every penny?
Does your partner ever suggest that any of these things are your fault?

If you have answered Yes to one or more of these questions you may be in an abusive relationship.
Although some forms of abuse may appear mild, these can escalate in times of great stress and in severe cases of abuse people can get seriously hurt or even killed or left with severe psychological disorders.
The objective of abuse counselling for victims is primarily acceptance and empathy to what they are suffering and to facilitate an understanding of how and why abuse occurs in relationships. Secondary to this a counsellor may aid a client to explore how an abusive relationship is maintained and how they can break the cycle of abuse. A counsellor may recommend other organisations that specialise in supporting victims of abuse such as Women’s Aid.

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