Domestic Abuse

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

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.

You do not have to wait for an emergency situation to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, it’s important to tell someone and remember you’re not alone.

General guidance to Domestic Abuse

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.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner 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 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 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 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 your partner has sex with you when you do not want to, this is rape.

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.

1 in 3 cases of domestic violence and abuse against women starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse.