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"How do I know whether it's abuse?"

Domestic abuse is any attitude, behaviour or action that makes you feel frightened of the consequences

  • If you change your behaviour because you're frightened of your partner or ex-partner's reaction, you are experiencing abuse

  • Domestic abuse can happen to anyone: any age, any gender, any religion, any sexuality, any ethnicity, any background 

  • Domestic abuse is never your fault

  • Domestic abuse is never excusable and is always wrong.

Refuge, the national domestic abuse charity, suggest that these are signs you may spot:

  • Is your partner jealous and possessive?

  • Are they charming one minute and abusive the next?

  • Do they tell you what to wear, where to go, who to see?

  • Do they constantly put you down

  • Do they play mind games and make you doubt your judgment?

  • Do they control your money?

  • Do they pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?

  • Are you starting to walk on eggshells to avoid making them angry?

  • Do they monitor or track your movements or messages?

  • Do they use anger and intimidation to frighten and control you?

Domestic abuse doesn't just mean violence. There are many kinds of abuse:

  • Violence - no amount of violence is ever ok

  • Financial abuse - your partner controls the money and you have very little or no access to your own money. They may also run up debts in your name

  • Coercive control - controlling behaviour designed to make you dependent by isolating you from friends and family and from any support network. It can include exploitation and regulation of your behaviour by harm, punishment, intimidation, threats or humiliation.

  • Psychological/emotional abuse - name-calling, threats and manipulation, blaming you for the abuse or ‘gas-lighting’ you; making you believe it's all your fault and that you're responsible for their behaviour

  • Sexual abuse - you should never be coerced to do anything that you dont' want to 

  • Online/digital abuse - demanding access to your devices, tracking you with spyware or location software, abusive texts or sharing images of you online

  • Harassment/stalking - a pattern of persistent, unwanted attention that makes you feel scared, anxious or harassed

Every type of abuse mentioned above is illegal - they are criminal acts and can be prosecuted

what is domestic abuse?