Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, in all types of relationships, regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability, sexuality, lifestyle, nationality or age.

Domestic abuse is a result of an abuser’s desire to gain control and power. They may use a range of different tactics – physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial – to achieve this.

Psychological and emotional abuse

Making you question your worth, controlling contact with friends and family, making you feel like you couldn’t cope on your own.

Sexual abuse

Any sexual act where you are forced to do something you don’t want to.

Financial abuse

Controlling access to money, accounting for every penny spent, stopping you getting a job or spending the money allocated for other things.

Violence or threatening behaviour

Physically harming you can range from a slap to a black eye, bruises to a broken bone. In the most extreme cases it can result in death. Physical abuse doesn’t always leave visible marks or scars. Over time the violence usually gets worse.


If your relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, you may be in an abusive relationship. There is no excuse for abuse – it’s a crime.

There are people to talk to and many organisations that can help and support you make changes, move on and take control of your life.

  • Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year
  • At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence – they are affected by seeing or hearing the abuse or by being hurt themselves
  • Men are victims in just over a quarter of incidents of domestic violence