In recent years the term ‘domestic abuse’ has begun to be used in preference to the term ‘domestic violence’. This is because some people feel that the use of the word ‘violence’ implies a physical act, whereas the word ‘abuse ‘ is used to describe a wider range of actions, which include emotional / psychological acts of abuse.

Am I experiencing domestic violence and abuse?

Although not an exhaustive list, here are some indicators that you are in an abusive relationship:


Has your partner ever –

  • Been jealous or over-possessive?
  • Blamed you for their anger?
  • Made you frightened to see certain friends or family members because of your partner’s opinion of them?
  • Made you feel nervous about how your partner might react to something you tell them?
  • Humiliated you in public?
  • Ignored or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • Embarrassed you in front of family or friends?
  • Kept you from contacting family or friends?
  • Made you feel out of control, and that you can’t do anything right most of the time?
  • Prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
  • Unjustly accused you of flirting or of having affairs with others?
  • Destroyed your possessions deliberately?
  • Kept you short of money so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
  • Ever tried to prevent you from taking necessary medication, or seeking medical help when you felt you needed it?
  • Threatened you with deportation because of your immigration status?
  • Ever tried to stop you from leaving the house?
  • Threatened to stop you from seeing your children, particularly if you leave?
  • Checked up or followed you?


Your partner –

  • Threatens to hurt you and / or your children
  • Says it’s your fault if they hit you, then promises it won’t happen again (but it does)
  • Throws you down, pushes, hits, kicks, chokes or slaps you
  • Forces you to have sex when you don’t want to
  • Forces you to have sex with other people
  • Forces you to take part in sexual activities that you are uncomfortable with

The most telling sign is fear of your partner.