What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is abuse which can be:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Violence and threatening behaviour

Domestic abuse is a result of an abuser’s desire to gain control and power over their partner.

It can happen to anyone, of any gender, religion, race or sexuality. Domestic abuse can happen in short or long-term relationships, with ex-partners or with family members.

My partner is abusing me. Is it my fault?

It’s not your fault. Nobody deserves to be abused. The abuser is responsible for the way they choose to behave. Being abused can affect your confidence, your self-esteem and may make you feel isolated. All of these things may lead you to believe you are somehow responsible for the abuse but this is not true and there are many organisations who can help and support you.

Someone I know is in an abusive relationship. What should I do?

If you think you spot the warning signs of abuse in someone’s relationship, they may need your help and support. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to talk about abuse so be patient, don’t judge them and be aware that they may be feeling ashamed, scared and have very low self-confidence. Remind them that it’s not their fault, that abuse is not normal or acceptable and that help and support is available.

If you think abuse is happening, don’t ignore the issue. For safety and to avoid any repercussions, you shouldn’t confront the abuser and neither should the person being abused.

I’m a man and I’m being abused, will anyone take me seriously?

Yes, police will take any reports of abuse very seriously. There are also organisations that provide specialist help and support to male victims of abuse.

Men can find it particularly difficult to talk about abuse and may feel alone and ashamed. All forms of abuse are the responsibility of the abuser, not the abused. Talking about what’s happening is very important and you can get help if your partner is violent, controlling or sexually abusive.

I’m in a same sex relationship and my partner has become very controlling but all the help seems to be for women being abused by men – what can I do?

Most of the organisations offering help and support will be able to help you no matter what kind of relationship you’re in. There are also charities dedicated to helping victims of abuse in LGBT relationships.

The proportion of people in abusive LGBT relationships is the same as those in heterosexual relationships – 1 in 4. But we know it goes under reported. If you’re ready to report the abuse, the police will take your report seriously and offer you the help and support you need.

What will happen if I call the police?

The police have had specialist training in dealing with domestic abuse and understand how difficult these situations can be. You can call them on 101 or contact them online. In an emergency, always call 999.

If the police come to your house, they will:

  • Speak to you away from the person who’s harmed you
  • Make sure you, your children and anyone else in the house are safe
  • Make sure your immediate needs and concerns are met
  • Be supportive and put you in contact with charities and agencies to get you any emotional, financial or housing help you need

If any police action is taken they will support you through that process and, if needed, take special measures to protect you in any court hearing.