Physical abuse and threats is prohibited
When someone hurts you, or threatens to hurt you, it is considered physical abuse and is prohibited in Iceland. It doesn‘t matter whether there is physical harm or not. It is also physical abuse if someone refuses to provide for your physical needs, like medicine. There is never any excuse for physically abusing someone. Often emotional abuse occurs before physical violence begins.
The consequences can have different degrees of severity. The more severe the abuse is, the more of an effect it will have on your mental health. The longer abuse occurs, the more effect it can have on your health. The effects of abuse linger long after the abuse stops. The most severe consequences of physical abuse in close relationships are when someone murders their spouse or partner.
Having to witness abuse is also abuse. Children who witness abuse in their homes experience similar negative effect and as if they have been abused.
It is physical abuse when someone:
- Threatens to hurt you or others in your home.
- Threatens to hurt themselves.
- Threatens you with facial expressions or clenched fists.
- Threatens you with a weapon, like a knife, or something that could be used as a weapon.
- Says they want to kill you or act that way (choke you).
- Grabs you to prevent you from leaving.
- Intentionally destroys your things.
- Hurts you in any physical manner.
- Forces you to take medicine.
- Prohibits you from taking necessary medicines.
Cycle of violence
Violence in intimate relationships often follows the same behavioural pattern known as the cycle of violence.
- Tension builds up.
- At some point the tension is released in the form of physical or emotional abuse.
- “The honeymoon phase” follows where the abusive person is full of regret.
Then this vicious cycle repeats itself.
If you want assistance, you can contact abuse centres for free: at Bjarkarhlíð in Reykjavík, Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri or Sigurhæðir in Selfoss. They specialize in abuse support. It doesn‘t matter how long it has been since the abuse occurred.
If the abuse occurred recently it is a good idea to get an injury report at the hospital emergency room. This report can be used if you decide to press charges. If you live with an abusive partner, it's a good idea to create a safety plan for you, and your children.
Women and their children, who are experiencing domestic violence have a safe place to go, The Women’s Shelter. It is also intended for women who are victims of rape or human trafficking. At the shelter, women are offered the help of consultants. They get a place to stay as well as advice, support, and useful information, everything for free.
Everyone, both adults and children, can talk to someone for free at 1717 (Red Cross helpline) through phone or web chat.