Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is the use of power and control in an intimate or family relationship. It can take many forms including:

  • Physical violence (e.g. slapping, pushing, kicking, punching)
  • Psychological or emotional abuse (e.g. verbal abuse and humiliation)
  • Financial control (e.g. withholding money, making all of the financial decisions)
  • Use of coercion or threats (e.g. not allowing friends to visit, restricting of phone calls)

Domestic abuse and coercive control is not always physical and the signs may not be obvious.  Domestic violence can involve controlling a person’s contact with their friends and family (isolating them), destroying property, verbal threats in private or public, etc.

If you are working with someone who is suffering any of these, support is available to help them.  

Women's Refuge Isle of Man

Isle of Man Constabulary - Domestic Abuse

Victim Support Isle of Man

How does domestic abuse affect children?

All children witnessing domestic abuse are experiencing emotional abuse.

Children will react in different ways to being brought up in a home where there is violence, and things such as age, gender, culture and personality will all play a part on how they're affected.

They may feel they are to blame, may feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless, or confused. They may have mixed feelings, both towards the abuser, and towards the non-abusing parent.  

Abuse and control can interfere with your child/ren's lives in other ways. They may feel unable to invite friends round (or may be prevented from doing so) out of shame, fear, or concern about what their friends may see.

They may feel guilty, and think the violence is their fault, or that they ought to be able to stop it in some way.

Worry, disturbed sleep and lack of concentration can all also affect schoolwork. 

Domestic abuse also teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:

  • It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict
  • They learn how to keep secrets
  • They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about them
  • It can impact negatively on the intimate relationships they develop in early and later life

Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.

The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them are.

The IOM Safeguarding Children procedures offer advice on what to do if you are worried about a child exposed to Domestic Abuse. These can be found by following the link below:

Isle of Man Policies and Procedures

If you are concerned about the safety of a child you should refer to Children’s and Families Service on (01624) 686179 or call the police on (01624) 631212 if you are worried about their immediate safety.