What is Domestic Abuse?

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

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.

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

This is also known as coercive control. This type of abuse can be difficult to spot but it could include making you question your worth, controlling contact with friends and family or making you feel like you couldn’t cope on your own. You can find out more about coercive control here.

Sexual abuse

Any situation in which an individual is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse could include controlling access to money, asking you to account 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. Threatening behaviour can include the threat of violence to you or other family members, destroying personal items or threats to remove your children.