Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or are family members - regardless of gender or sexuality. It can also include honour based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Below are some examples of domestic abuse and some short videos, which show how situations can escalate. If you are experiencing any of these, it could mean you are in an abusive relationship.

Relationship abuse is not a one-off event, it's a cycle and its usually gets worse if nothing is done to stop it.

A new domestic abuse offence for "coercive and controlling behaviour" within relationships has been announced by the home secretary.

Read about the new domestic abuse law

It's not your fault and It's never ok! - seek help now.

Emotional Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Being ignored
  • Control
  • Pressure and extreme jealousy
  • Stealing
  • Depriving or taking control of money
  • Running up debts or withholding benefits or bank cards
  • Name calling
  • Threats
  • Humiliation
  • Blame
  • Insults
  • Put downs
  • Isolation from friends/family
  • Ridicule
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can be pressuring someone into having sex, this could include:

  • Touching
  • Kissing
  • Fondling
  • Oral sex
  • Penetration

Sexual abuse is also classed as:

  • Taking photos of someone in a sexual situation whey they don't want to be photographed or are not aware of it (including on a mobile phone)
  • Sending those photos to other people or posting them on websites
  • Forcing someone to look at pornography
  • Offering someone to another person for sex
Physical abuse
  • Putting a person in danger
  • Pushing
  • Slapping
  • Hitting
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Hair pulling
  • Choking
  • Burning or using a weapon or other object to harm
Forced marriage

A forced marriage is when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage and are forced into marriage against their will. There could be physical and emotional abuse used to coerce you into the marriage. Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights.

More information on forced marriage
Honour based abuse

Honour based abuse is an international term used to describe abuse and violence committed in order to protect or defend family or community honour.

Honour based abuse will often go hand-in-hand with forced marriages, although this is not always the case. Honour crimes and forced marriages are already covered by the law, and can involve a range of criminal offences.

Female genital mutilation

This is a collective term used for procedures, such as female circumcision, which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs for a cultural or non-therapeautic reason.

More informaiton about female genital mutilation

Abuse in pregnancy

Abuse can often start in pregnancy, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth.

Domestic abuse during pregnancy puts you and your unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, and injury or death to the baby.