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Domestic abuse is everyone's business

Lucy W Web

Written by Lucy Wilmot, senior client services manager

Every year nearly two million people in the UK suffer from some form of domestic abuse. Anyone can be a victim, and it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Find out how to spot the signs and get help.

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Quick exit

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, religion or ethnicity.

Womens' Aid says domestic abuse is:

"an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer."

Abuse can include:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

It can also include harassment and stalking, online or digital abuse.

How do you recognise domestic abuse?

There are many signs to look out for, here are a few. Remember experiencing any of these is not acceptable.

Is your partner...

  • Excessively jealous and possessive?
  • Stopping you from seeing your family and friends?
  • Constantly criticising you and putting you down in public

Does your partner...

  • Play mind games and make you unsure of your own judgment?
  • Control your money?
  • Tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go?
  • Pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
  • Track your movements?
  • Check your phone, social media, emails?
  • Ever threaten or intimidate you by using violent language or smashing things up?

Are you...

  • Forced to change your behaviour because you are frightened of your partner’s reaction?
  • Blamed for their behaviour?
  • Walking on eggshells?

What you can do if you're a victim of domestic abuse

You’re not to blame and you’re not alone – you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Please reach out to a trusted friend, support worker, housing officer or other professional.

Professionals will be able to put you in touch with people who can support you in a safe and confidential way. There are options available that you probably don’t know even exist.

If you are in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police.

If you can’t talk when you've dialled 999, press 55. The operator will try a number of ways to find out what's happening and put you through to the police. If you are able to say only one thing, please say your location.

What can you do if you think someone is suffering domestic abuse?

If someone confides in you or you are worried about a friend, neighbour, colleague or loved one then seek advice.

Confidential advice is available 24 hours a day by contacting:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline (England) call 0808 2000 247

Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages helpline (Scotland) call 0800 027 1234

In an emergency always call 999. You can do this without your information being passed on.

Originally published in December 2021. Information checked and republished.

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