What is Domestic Abuse?

"Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. It isn't just physical violence, domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse"

Emotional Abuse

  • Any use if words, action or voice o humiliate another

  • Verbal threats, name calling, use of abusive language

  • Manipulation with words, ideas or lies

  • Aggressiveness, destructive or anti-social behaviour

Financial Abuse

  • Not ‘Allowed’ a bank account

  • Have to ask for money

  • Every penny has to be accounted for

  • Money may be withheld for essentials such as food and nappies

  • May be forced to work and handover wages

Physical Abuse

  • Abuse is rarely a ‘one off’ incident

  • Includes honour based and FGM

  • Abuser has ability to stop the violence and compose himself should he be disturbed

  • Ability to choose where to cause injuries so they can not be seen

Sexual Abuse

  • Any forced sexual act

  • Examples include, unwanted touching or rape

  • Used to exert power and control

  • Has elements of physical and psychological abuse.

Getting Help

The 24 hr freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) is available on

0808 2000 247

24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


It is answered by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers who will answer your call in confidence. All calls to the helpline are free from mobiles and landlines.

Understanding the cycle of abuse

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence.  The entire cycle may happen in one day or it may take weeks or even months. It is different for every relationship and not all relationships follow the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages may even disappear.