What is domestic abuse?


Domestic abuse is the misuse of power and control by one person over another.

It can begin at any time, can be obvious or subtle and can happen suddenly or gradually. It can happen to anyone regardless of class, age, race, religion, culture, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle.

Forms of domestic abuse include:

  • Physical - pushing, hitting, kicking, choking, biting
  • Emotional - putting you down, humiliating you, calling you names
  • Psychological - intimidation, coercion, threats
  • Sexual - forcing sexual acts, withholding affection as punishment
  • Financial - taking/controlling your money, destroying your credit rating
  • Honour-based - abusive action taken when a family or a community believes that the victim has breached the family's honour or the honour code, including rape, assault and murder

Abuse, of any kind, is never acceptable.

The many faces of domestic abuse

Published 20 May 2015

If you are being abused, or if you want to talk to someone about a situation you are unsure about, we have dedicated domestic abuse officers who will help and advise you. Call 101 for help and guidance. In an emergency call 999.

Alternatively, please complete the 101 contact form if you prefer to email.

You can also go to our Help and support page, which will provide details of helplines and support agencies.

Try our 'Is this love' questionnaire which you may find helpful.


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