Signs Of Domestic Abuse

The information on this page gives you examples of the types of behaviour that come under the definition of domestic abuse.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse includes pushing and shoving, slapping, punching and hitting, pulling hair, choking, throwing things at you, hitting you with an object, burning you and using or threatening to use a weapon.

It can include forcing you to take drugs, or injecting you without your consent. It can include not allowing you to take your medication, or taking away equipment such as crutches or a wheelchair that you need to be mobile.

It can be restraining you against your will, such as tying you up, or refusing to allow you go out on your own so you are a prisoner in your own home. It can include physical neglect such as not allowing you to eat or drink, wash yourself or have access to sanitary products during your period.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is rape and forced unwanted sex in any form. It is touching you sexually without your consent. It is deliberately causing you pain when you have sex

Other aspects can include insisting you act out fantasies, denial of your sexuality, and outing or threatening to out you. It can include not allowing you to use contraceptives and trying to control when you get pregnant, and deliberately infecting you with a sexually transmitted disease.

Emotional and psychological abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse includes insulting you, calling you names, saying that you are stupid and saying things are always your fault, or that ‘you made me do it’ – including the abuse itself. It can include a technique know as ‘gas lighting’ where the abuser constantly denies your version of events until you start to believe that you must be wrong. It can include inconsistent behaviour – loving one minute and aggressive the next – so you feel you are constantly ‘walking on eggshells’ and don’t know where you stand.

It can include insulting your family or friends or refusing to let you contact them or spend time on your own with them, which can leave you more isolated and more dependant on the abuser. The abuser may constantly check your phone, your email or your social media accounts and say who you can have as friends. They may be very jealous of other friends or relationships you have.

It includes making fun of your beliefs and refusing to let you practise your religion.

It also includes emotional blackmail such as threats that social services will take the children away if you report the abuse, threats of harm towards pets, and saying they will injure themselves or commit suicide if you try to end the relationship.

Emotional and psychological abuse can leave you feeling worthless and ashamed, and mean that you withdraw from people who are trying to help you because you are worried about how the abuser might react. They might put pressure on you to keep quiet, or make threats about what would happen if you tell anyone.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when you are not allowed to have money of your own or any control over money. You might be forced to have a joint bank account so the abuser can take your wages or benefit, or you might have to hand over any cash you have. Your partner may keep you accountable for any money spent, approving or disapproving of your spending. It could also mean you are not allowed to have a job so you are dependent on your partner for money and survival

The abuser might steal from you, sell your possessions without permission or run up large debts in your name.

Harassment and Stalking

Harassment and Stalking  You may suffer harassment or stalking from a current from a current or ex partner.  This can include being followed, being threatened, unwanted telephone calls, texts, emails or contact through any social media, for example, Facebook or twitter

Get help now

If you have experienced any of these things in an intimate relationship, they are signs your relationship may be abusive and you should think about getting help.

If you know someone who has experienced any of these things you can find out more about ways to help them.

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