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Pedestrians from an Ariel View

What Is Domestic Abuse? 

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone.

Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined across Government as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality. 

The following are all types of abuse: 







Coercive Control


Below are some examples of different types of abuse 

Examples of physical abuse include:

• Being kicked, punched, pinched, slapped, dragged, scratched, choked, bitten
• Use or threats of use of weapons; including knives and irons
• Objects being thrown at you 
• Violence against family members or pets
• Causing you physical harm by denying access to medical aids or equipment
• Harming you whilst performing ‘care’ duties (especially relevant for those with a disability) including force feeding, withdrawal of medicine or over-medication

Examples of isolation:

• Limiting outside involvement such as family, friends and work colleagues
• Not allowing any activity outside the home that does not include her or him
• Constantly checking up on your whereabouts

• Phoning/ texting you when out to ask where you are/ when you'll be home 

• Video calling you when out to check if you are where you say you are 


Examples of verbal abuse:

• Constant yelling and shouting
• Verbal humiliation either in private or in company
• Constantly being laughed at and being made fun of
• Blaming you for the abuse; e.g. if you hadn't done 'x' I wouldn't have had do 'y' 
• Insulting you, putting you down, making threats
• Mocking someone about their disability, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance etc
•  Mocking your “sexual performance” including in front of friends, work colleagues and on social media



Examples of threatening behaviour:

• Threatening violence
• Threatening the use of weapons or any item in a violent way 
• Threatening to use violence against other family members, friends or pets
• Threatening to use extended family members to attack you
• Destroying your personal and treasured items
• Threatening to tell the police that you are the person being abusive
• Threatening to remove your children, that you will never see them again or that they will take them abroad without your permission

• Threatening to take you to court to get the children removed and/or full custody



Examples of emotional and psychological abuse:

• Intimidating you 
• Withholding affection and giving you the silent treatment
• Turning your children and friends against you
• Stopping from seeing friends or relatives either directly or indirectly, e.g. making it really difficult whenever you make plans to see them, saying they can't look after the kids, saying you are choosing your friends over them etc 
• Constantly being insulted, including in front of others
• Repeatedly being belittled, put down and degraded 
• Keeping you awake/stopping you sleeping – sleep deprivation
• Stalking or harassing behaviour 
• Using social media sites to intimidate you (such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
• Manipulating your anxieties or beliefs
• Telling you that you are to blame for the abuse and injuries 
• Persuading you to doubt your own sanity or mind (including “Gaslighting” – read more here)
• Telling you that you are not a “real” father/ mother
• Denying the abuse committed against you ever happened, minimising it, or blaming you for it 
• Telling you that your injuries are not serious or that you are being dramatic 
•  Accusing you falsely of having affairs and/or constantly looking at other women/men


Examples of economic abuse and financial abuse:
• Not allowing you to spend any money unless you have got their 'permission' first 
• Making you account for every pound you spend e.g. having to produce receipts for every transaction 
• Running up huge bills such as credit cards in your name
• Setting up false companies, accounts or credit cards in your name 
• Deliberately forcing you to go back to the family courts as a means of costing you additional legal fees
• Preventing you from claiming welfare benefits
• Interfering with your education, training, or employment
• Not allowing you access to mobile phone/car/utilities
• Damaging your property
• Denying you food or only allowing you to eat a particular type of food



Examples of sexual abuse:

• Sexual harassment/pressure, or sexual acts, including with other people
• Forcing sex after physical assaults
• Sexually degrading language
• Rape (see here for more info and the definition) 
• Forcing you to have sex (or commit a sexual act) against your will
• Unwanted sexual contact and demands
• Forced involvement into making or watching pornography
• Deliberately being hurt during sex
• Being pressurised or being tricked into having unsafe sex

Examples of digital and social media abuse (often this can be with ex partners):

  • Stalking you

  • Placing false and malicious information about you on your or others’ social media

  • Being trolled

  • Having no control on your content or not allowed to  have access

  • Revenge porn (more info and support here

  • Monitoring or controlling your email and phone calls (including work email and calls)

  • Sharing private sexual photographs and films without your consent and with the intent to cause you distress

  • Hacking into, monitoring or controlling email accounts, social media profiles and phone calls

  • Blocking you from using online accounts

  • Use of spyware or GPS locators on items such as phones, computers, wearable technology (e.g. smart watches), cars, motorbikes and pets

  • Hacking internet enabled devices such as PlayStations or iPads to gain access to accounts or trace information such as your location

  • Using personal devices such as smart watches or smart home devices (such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home Hubs, etc) to monitor, control or frighten you

  • Use of hidden cameras



Examples of Coercive and Controlling Behaviour: 

  • Isolating you from your friends and family, intercepting messages or phone calls or refusing to interpret for you 

  • Depriving you of your basic needs e.g. food, clothing etc

  • Monitoring your time and how you use this 

  • Monitoring your online communication tools or using spyware

  • Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you 
    can go, who you can see, what to wear and when you can sleep

  • Depriving you access to support services, such as specialist
    support or medical services

  • Repeatedly putting you down such as telling you that you are worthless

  • Enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise

  • Forcing you to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting,
    neglect or abuse of children to encourage self-blame and prevent
    disclosure to authorities

  • Financial abuse including control of finances

  • Threats to hurt or kill

  • Threats to a child

  • Threats to reveal or publish private information (e.g. threatening to ‘out’
    someone or sharing private images)

  • Assault

  • Criminal damage (such as destruction of household goods)

  • Rape

  • Preventing you from having access to transport or from working

  • Controlling or monitoring your daily activities, including making you account for your time, dictating what you can wear, when you can eat

  • Intentionally undermining your role as a partner, spouse or parent

  • Preventing you from taking medication or over-medicating you, or preventing you from accessing health or social care (especially relevant for those with disabilities or long-term health conditions)

  • Using substances to control you through dependency

  • Using children to control you – threatening to take the children away or manipulating professionals to increase the risk of children being removed into care

  • Parental alienation, including preventing children from spending time with your or their grandparents, from visiting friends’ houses and from participating in extracurricular activities

  • Threats to expose sensitive information (e.g. sexual activity) or make false allegations to family members, religious or local community including via photos or the internet

  • Preventing you from learning a language or making friends outside of their ethnic/ or cultural background

  • Threatening to get you deported, withholding documents, giving false information about your visa or visa application

  • Threats of institutionalisation

This is not an exhaustive list. If you feel that you are experiencing abuse, or would like to talk about what is happening for you at home, please contact us for support and information.


You are not alone. 

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