Psychological / Emotional Abuse
Emotional and Psychological abuse includes a range of non-physical controlling behaviours that cause emotional damage and undermine a persons sense of well-being.
Emotional and Psychological abuse includes:
· Telling someone they are worthless,
· Telling them no one else wants them,
· Forcing someone to do things at an exact time or in an exact way,
· Undermining a persons actions, thought and beliefs,
· Telling someone they are weak and could not manage to look after themselves on their own,
· Making someone believe they are mad,
· Telling someone that the domestic violence and abuse is their fault.
· Not allowing someone to have visitors,
· Controlling who a person is friends with,
· Not allowing them to go out,
· Not allowing someone to see their family and friends,
· Not allowing someone to be left alone with other people,
· Not allowing someone to use the phone, send letters or emails.
· Locking someone in a room or house,
· Not allowing someone to go out to work, not allowing someone to go to college or evening classes,
· Accompanying someone everywhere that they go in order to keep control over what they do, who they see and what they say.
· Telling someone they are a bad parent,
· Getting children to say and do things to upset someone,
· Encouraging children to get involved in the abuse.
· Abusing someone’s children or pets,
· Damaging possessions,
· Accusing someone of lying when they are not,
· Telling someone they are fat, ugly and useless,
· Making someone believe that no one else likes them.
· Threatening to harm someone, or to harm their children or pets.
· Threatening to have someone locked up saying that they are mad,
· Threatening to have someone deported or withholding care if someone is aged, ill or disabled,
· Telling someone they will find and kill them if they leave,
· Threatening to abuse someone in front of their children, family or friends.
Emotional abuse is often difficult to recognise. It can be very subtle, often being overlooked by a person’s friends and family. The person affected may not even think or feel that abuse is taking place.
Emotional abuse can affect women and children experiencing it in many ways. It can leave deep psychological scars and can seriously damage the self-confidence of the person experiencing the abuse.
Research suggests that acts of animal abuse may, in some circumstances, be used to coerce, control and intimidate women and children to remain in, or be silent about, their abusive situation. The threat or actual abuse of a pet can prevent women from leaving situations of domestic violence.
Many women and children are forced to stay with violent partners because they feel they can’t leave their pets behind – and in some instances violent men are also violent towards the family pets. Research shows that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence: men who are violent to women may threaten to harm or actually kill a beloved pet in order to intimidate their partner, therefore maintaining their power and control.
According to the organisation Paws for Kids, 46% of women indicated that their partners had threatened to harm their pets, 29% indicated their partners had harmed their pets, 81% of the respondents had children and 41% of the children in these families had witnessed threats or actual violence to their much-loved pet.
The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline Fourth Year Statistics report recorded that 137 reports were made regarding the perpetrator being abusive towards the children, with 27 reports regarding being abusive towards pets.
A study by Women’s Aid Federation England also suggests that pet abuse is used by perpetrators of domestic abuse in the UK to try and control and coerce their partners/ex partners and children, reporting that callers to their National Helpline say that on average 9 pets a week are or have been abused by a perpetrator.
Why do Perpetrators use threats to pets?
According to Paws for Kids:
· A perpetrator will use whatever there is in the home to maintain his power and control over his partner and children.
· By harming a pet, a perpetrator reinforces a sense of terror in his partner and children. A perpetrator may not need to do anything else to demonstrate power.
· By killing a pet, a perpetrator may be destroying the women or child's only form of comfort & support by cutting them off from the unconditional love of a pet, this will inevitably add to their feelings of isolation and despair.
· If a pet is left in the home when a woman and her children go in to a refuge, a man may choose to harm a pet to re-enforce the fear that if she is not there her pets are not safe.
· By threatening to harm a much-loved pet a child's silence can be bought by an abuser.
For many women and children who leave violent relationships, the options open to them regarding their pets are very limited. The services listed below ensure pets are cared for by a volunteer foster-carer until their owner is able to be reunited with them. All placements are strictly confidential.
Living with domestic abuse is hard, but can be made more difficult if you have a much loved family pet. Most refuges do not allow animals, which is where the RSPCA may be able to help you, your family and pet.
The next step...
Other Services that may be able to help:
The Buster Foundation
Cheshire and North of England based
0120 469 8999 (PAWS for Kids)
01554 750 100 (Llanelli Dogs Home)
01267 253847 (Paws and Claws - Bronwydd, Carmarthen)
01570 470 589 (Ty Agored, Cribyn, Lampeter)
01550 740 661 (Animal Rescue, Llandeust)
01267 237 958 (Animal Accident, Emergencies only, 4 Clos Morgan, Carmarthen)
01974 251 596 (Animal in Need)
01492 870 212 (Abandoned Animals)
01492 532 780 (RSPCA)
01492 532 346 (Animal Rescue)
Your local Women’s Aid group will also have more information about pet fostering schemes available in your area.
To contact your local Women’s Aid group please visit the Women’s Aid in Wales pages
If you are experiencing emotional/psychological abuse, or domestic abuse of any kind, contact the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.