What Is Domestic Violence?

Many people have heard about domestic violence but not everyone is aware of its full meaning. One definition of domestic violence taken from gov.uk 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 family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

This definition is good as it includes the different ways people experience abuse making it easier to report and prosecute the types of domestic violence. Controlling behaviour is any action that makes a person dependent on their abuser such as isolating them from other people, such as friends and family, and restricting their everyday behaviour, such as what they wear or where they go. Coercive behaviour is when the perpetrator uses forces or threats to harm or frighten their victim.

What are the different types of abuse?

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the more well-known types of abuse and is any intentional and unwanted contact with you. It doesn’t have to cause pain or leave bruises or scars. For example: throwing things towards you, grabbing clothing, stopping you from leaving or forcing you to go somewhere.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is also sometimes called psychological abuse. It refers to verbal abuse such as name calling, shouting, making you feel guilty, threats and humiliation. Perpetrators can also control and manipulate their victims by denying things happened, which can cause the victim to doubt themselves.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when a partner uses your money without your permission or controls how you spend it. It is often seen with emotional and/or physical abuse. This can include giving you an allowance, closely watching how you spend your money or negatively affecting you at work (like preventing you from going to work or causing tension with your boss or co-workers).

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is any sexual act that the victim has been pressured or forced into. It also refers to restricting access to contraception such as the pill or condoms. Sexual consent is more than ‘not saying no’. Actions such as unwanted kissing or touching, forcing someone to perform sexual acts and using sexual insults towards someone are all examples of sexual abuse.

Digital Abuse

This is a newer type of abuse and is when a perpetrator uses technology to stalk, harass or abuse a partner. Types of digital abuse include your partner controlling who you can interact with online (like to who can friends be with and whose photos you can like), pressures you to send sexual messages, or taking your passwords.


Continuous following, watching and unwanted contact that makes you feels scared or unsafe are forms of stalking. There are different things a stalker may do such as: showing up at your home or work uninvited, using social media to check on you or damage your property.

What Can I Do Now?

If you feel you are experiencing unhealthy behaviours in your relationship or want to find out more information there are lots of services you can access.

Loveisrespect, although it is an US website it still has lots of useful information on how to help yourself or other people. It also has more information on the types of abuse and healthy relationships.

Childine is a private and confidential help and support to children and teenagers.


Domestic violence advice and support for young people, both male and female

Reporting Domestic Violence

It is important to remember that if you are in an emergency or in immediate danger call 999

The following organisations can also offer advice on what to do if you think you are a victim of domestic violence.

English National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247


Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) 0800 999 5428 www.galop.org.uk

Men’s Advice Line

0808 801 0327 www.mensadviceline.org.uk

National Centre for Domestic Violence 0844 8044 999 www.ncdv.org.uk

Scottish Women’s Aid 0800 027 1234 www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk

Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 80 10 800 www.allwaleshelpline.org.uk

Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland) 0800 917 1414 www.womensaidni.org

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