Domestic abuse

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Below, you will find a short video and further information to help you


What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone. Find out how to recognise the signs and where to get help.

If you’re worried someone might see you have visited this page, the Women’s Aid website tells you how to cover your tracks online.

Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse, includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members.

Domestic violence can happen against anyone, and anybody can be an abuser.

Specialist support

Below, you will find organisations and charities who are best suited to assist you


Women - Are you experiencing domestic abuse? You are not alone


The Helpline for male victims of domestic abuse


We support LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence

Signs of domestic violence and abuse

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There are different kinds of abuse, but it’s always about having power and control over you.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship or experiencing domestic abuse.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

belittle you, or put you down?

blame you for the abuse or arguments?

deny that abuse is happening, or downplay it?

isolate you from your family and friends?

stop you going to college or work?

make unreasonable demands for your attention?

accuse you of flirting or having affairs?

tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?

control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?

monitor your social media profiles, share photos or videos of you without your consent or use GPS locators to know where you are?

Threats and intimidation

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

threaten to hurt or kill you?

destroy things that belong to you?

stand over you, invade your personal space?

threaten to kill themselves or the children?

read your emails, texts or letters?

harass or follow you?

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

slap, hit or punch you?

push or shove you?

bite or kick you?

burn you?

choke you or hold you down?

throw things?

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

touch you in a way you do not want to be touched?

make unwanted sexual demands?

hurt you during sex?

pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?

pressure you to have sex?

If anyone has sex with you when you do not want to, this is rape. It is still rape if that person is your partner.

Have you ever felt afraid of your partner?

Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there are lots of people who can help you.

Domestic violence and abuse against women often starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse.

Find out more about domestic abuse in pregnancy.

If you decide to leave

The first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault.

Before you go, try to get advice from an organisation such as:

Women’s Aid or Refuge for women

Men’s Advice Line for men

Galop for LGBT+

If you’re considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It’s important the person abusing you does not know where you’re going.

Women’s Aid has useful information about making a safety plan that applies to both women and men, including advice if you decide to leave.

Helping a friend if they're being abused

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.

They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.

If someone confides in you that they’re suffering domestic abuse:

listen, and take care not to blame them

acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse

give them time to talk, but do not push them to talk if they do not want to

acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation

tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said

support them as a friend, encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions

do not tell them to leave the relationship or leave home if they’re not ready – that’s their decision

ask if they have suffered physical harm and if they have, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP

help them report the assault to the police if they choose to

be ready to provide information about organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse

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