Defining domestic violence

Domestic violence and abuse  is an incident or pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, violent behaviour, psychological and emotional abuse, and sexual violence. In most cases, it is committed by a partner or ex-partner, family member or carer. It is very common. Statistics show that most domestic abuse is carried out by men and experienced by women. It's important to remember you are not alone.

Spotting the signs of domestic abuse

If you answer yes to one or more of the below questions, you may be experiencing domestic abuse.

  • Does your partner use anger and intimidation to frighten and control you?
  • Is your partner jealous and possessive?
  • Do they monitor or track your movements or messages?
  • Do they constantly put you down?
  • Do they control your money and finances or make sure you depend on them for everyday things?
  • Does your partner pressure you to have sex when you don't want to?
  • Are you afraid to make them angry and avoid making them angry?
  • Do they play mind games and make you doubt your judgment?
  • Are they charming one minute and abusive the next?
  • Do they control your access to medicine, devices, or care you need?

It's also important to remember that domestic abuse can include forced marriage, honour-based violence, or female genital mutilation.

Honour-based violence is when a victim, usually a girl or woman, is coerced and controlled to act a certain way so as to protect the ‘honour’ of their family. The perpetrators are usually someone in your family or community, who control your behaviour in order to protect religious beliefs or cultural norms. You might be told you have brought ‘shame’ on your family for something such as your sexuality, how you dress yourself, or dating someone outside of your religious or cultural community. It can affect people of any age but often adolescence is where victims are most vulnerable. This is a form of domestic abuse and if you believe you are experiencing this, please contact us for advice and guidance.

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of the above questions or can relate to any of the situations or feelings described, you are probably experiencing domestic violence. If so, visit our Resources page for a list of emergency numbers to call. Don't forget, you do not have to wait for an emergency to find help. If domestic abuse is happening to you, telling someone is important. Remember, you're not alone.

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