Domestic abuse is when the behaviour of someone close to you causes you harm. Domestic abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual or financial.
Cover your tracks
Domestic abuse is not only physical violence.
It also happens where someone close to you controls you through things like bullying, verbal abuse, sexual violence, not letting you have any money or keeping you isolated by stopping you seeing your friends or family.
Domestic abuse can be carried out by a spouse, partner, former spouse or partner, close family member or someone you used to live with.
Domestic abuse and violence can happen in straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual relationships. You can be affected by domestic abuse regardless of your gender or sexuality or the gender or sexuality of the person who is abusing you.
Physical and sexual abuse
Physical attacks are the most obvious sign of domestic violence. They don't need to leave visible marks to be damaging.
Physically abusive acts can include:
- slapping and punching
- hair pulling
- scalding or burning
- throwing and breaking things
- the use of weapons such as knives
Sexual abuse can include rape or being forced to take part in sexual acts you're uncomfortable with.
Mental or emotional abuse
Mental abuse attacks your personality and your emotional well-being.
Mental abuse might be less obvious than physical abuse but it can be just as harmful. It can include:
- humiliation or constant criticism
- verbal abuse and name calling
- unreasonable rules and ultimatums
- stopping you seeing or talking to friends and family
- threats against you or others you are close to
- destroying your belongings
- excessive jealousy and possessiveness
- control over what you wear and how you look
Financial abuse is one way that your partner can control you.
It is not always obvious what is going on but it can include:
- stopping you getting a job
- making you explain to them what you have spent money on
- not allowing you to have any money to spend on yourself
- stealing from you
Staying in or leaving your home
How to deal with domestic abuse
Contact Women's Aid if you are a woman facing abuse or violence.
If you're a man dealing with domestic abuse, contact Men's Adviceline, a specialist helpline offering listening, emotional support, information and advice.
Contact Childline if you're a young person needing advice about domestic abuse.
Call the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428 for confidential support and advice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who have experienced domestic abuse.
Get in touch with Karma Nirvana for support because of forced marriage or 'honour-based' abuse.