What is Domestic Violence?

Where there is Physical Abuse your partner may:

  • Shove, slap or hit you or your children
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Destroy your property or threaten to, or harm your pets
  • Kick, bite or pull your hair
  • Threaten to commit suicide or threaten to kill you if you leave or tell anyone
If your partner is physically abusive towards you, or your children, you need to consider your own and your childrens’ safety. It is important to tell someone what is happening - all physical abuse needs to be taken seriously.
  • The Gardai can be called for immediate help at 999 or 112
  • In Galway the Domestic Violence refuge (24hour) and Outreach service can be contacted at 091-565985
  • The Womens Aid Freephone Helpline operates between 10am-10pm at 1800 341 900   
  • If you are worried about your children contact your nearest HSE Social Work Department at 091 546 370

Where there is Verbal and Emotional abuse your partner may:

  • Humiliate you with verbal abuse and put-downs
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, say its your fault and even deny doing it
  • Call you names, make negative comments on your appearance
  • Accuse you of wanting to be with other men
  • Tell you you’re a bad mother and not able to parent the children
Women often say that constant verbal abuse can be as harmful as physical abuse as it undermines self confidence and self esteem  and your basic sense of self.  You can be left feeling it’s all your fault and be asked to take responsibility for things you haven’t done.

Where there is Sexual Abuse your partner may:

  • Insist you have sex when you don’t want to or insist you do things with which you are not comfortable.
  • Insist you watch and act out pornography
  • Deny  you access to contraception
  • Insist you get pregnant when you don’t want to
  • Insist on sex when you’re particularly vulnerable such as after childbirth
  • Put up inappropriate pictures of you on Facebook or send intimate images of you by mobile to other people
Sexual abuse can be difficult to talk about but the effects can be devastating.

Where there is Financial Abuse your partner may:

  • Make you account for any money you spend or take your money
  • Insist that all the household bills are in your name and refuse to pay any arrears
  • Expect you to pay for all the household expenses and all expenses relating to children
  • Not allow you to work or make it difficult for you to work
All of these things can prevent you from leaving the relationship out of fear of not being able to survive financially.

Where there is Social Abuse and Control your partner may:

  • Try to control what you do and where you go
  • Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family
  • Try to break up any close relationships or friendships you have
  • Choose your clothes and tell you what to wear and when to wear it.
  • Text you constantly and expect you to answer immediately
This is controlling behaviour that usually underpins all domestic abuse. It is about isolating the person and keeping them dependent and living in a state of constant anxiety.

An abusive relationship usually includes a mixture of all or some of the above.

It can help to talk to someone about what’s happening in your relationship.

You can phone COPE Galway Waterside House at 091 565985 or the National Freefone Helpline at 1800341900 to explore your options. You may not feel ready to make a decision just yet -  talking through issues is often the first step in making an informed decision about your future.

Safety Planning

If you are worried that you might need to leave quickly to get out of an abusive situation, or if you find yourself in a situation where your partner might become abusive it could be useful to have a Safety Plan which is a way of  helping you to protect yourself and your children.

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