Psychological abuse is a very common as well as dangerous phenomenon in prevalent in our society, and yet it often goes unnoticed. Perhaps the biggest danger associated with it is that people fail to identify it unless there are physical signs of it that are evident. Psychological abuse may start off as something very small and insignificant, however it can cause the victim great harm as in its initial stages, the abuser just wants to make sure what are the different ways in which he/she can hurt the victim. As time passes, it develops into something extremely problematic and can become fatal for the victim.
It includes a lot of things that are usually considered to be very common in our society such as name calling, yelling, insulting, isolation, ignorance, neglect, and the like. The most common forms of psychological abuse are bullying and body shaming. All these factors combine to make the victim feel belittled which makes him/her come under an inferiority complex. Psychological abuse can broadly be defined as treatment of a person in any way that hurts them and makes them feel anxiety, stress, trauma even depression. Cases of psychological abuse that have led the victim to commit suicide are not uncommon. (‘Psychological Abuse: Definition, Signs and Symptoms, 2016’)
Until recently, there were not any laws criminalizing the act of psychologically abusing anyone. The problem was not as recognized as it is now and was considered to be non-existent. However now, since a lot of cases of such domestic violence, child abuse and bullying have started being reported, this has changed and the state has been forced to take action to put an end to this problem. According to the Home Office’s Statutory Guidance Framework, there are certain behavioral characteristics that have been specified. If a person’s behavior towards another person includes these characteristics, it is declared as psychological abuse. These characteristics include isolating a person from others, dominating, humiliating and blackmailing them.
The offense only applies if the victim repeatedly and continuously faces this response from his/her abuser. Furthermore, the victims are required to report their abuse within two years of its initiation. The behavior also has to be done deliberately through proper calculation. If the victim fails to provide evidence that his or her abuser has intact deliberately harmed him/her, the report does not get filed and is disregarded. (‘Domestic Abuse: Everything you need to know about the new Psychological Abuse Law’) It must also necessarily have a profound impact on the victim.
Therefore, as important as it is to appreciate and celebrate the state’s efforts to deal with the problem of psychological abuse, it is also necessary to improve the laws that deal with it. Since there are so many conditions that have to be met by the victim to report case, most of the cases go unreported. If the victims of psychological abuse are truly to be helped, these conditions need to be loosened a little so that the victims can come out easily.
Tracy, N. (n.d.). Psychological Abuse: Definition, Signs and Symptoms – Emotional-Psychological Abuse – Abuse. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/psychological-abuse-definition-signs-and-symptoms/
Ng, K. (2015, December 29). Domestic abuse: Everything you need to know about the new psychological abuse law. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-psychological-abuse-law-a6789271.html
n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2018, from https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-psychological-abuse-definition-lesson-quiz.html