What is domestic abuse?

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.

Sadly, domestic abuse is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coercive control – a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence. When an abuser uses a pattern of behaviour over time to exert power and control. It is a criminal offence.
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse – includes name-calling, threats and manipulation, blaming you for the abuse or ‘gaslighting’ you.
  • Physical or sexual abuse – not only hitting. They might restrain you or throw objects. They might pinch or shove you and claim it’s a ‘joke’. They might manipulate or coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do.
  • Financial or economic abuse – controlling your access to money or resources. They might take your wages, stop you working or put you in debt.
  • Harassment and stalking – a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered, scared, anxious or harassed.
  • Online or digital abuse – they might send abusive texts, demand access to your devices, track you with spyware, or share images of you online.

Coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse. You can find out more here.

You can also find further information on coronavirus safety advice for survivors here.

What makes a healthy and unhealthy relationship?

Here are some useful resources on what makes a healthy and an unhealthy relationship:

Signs of an unhealthy relationship

Signs of a healthy relationship

Gaslighting describes any person trying to make another person question their own sense of reality. They do this by denying facts, things that happened, or trivialising the other person’s feelings. Watch this video to learn more.

Empower yourself with knowledge!

Women’s aid – a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services to build a future where domestic violence is not tolerated:

Gov.UK – find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.

Use these questions to see whether this might be happening in your home:

Am I in an abusive relationship?

Love respect

Are you in danger, but can’t talk?

How can I help my children?

Information on domestic abuse in different languages:

Escaping domestic violence

Women’s Aid

Sources of support

If you are worried about domestic abuse or recognise any of what you have seen on this page please speak out, we are here to support you.

Please contact the safeguarding team at your academy via our website.

Below is a list of helpline numbers you can call to talk to someone about abuse that might be happening in your home. In an emergency, please ring the police on 999 for immediate help.

Women’s Aid
A national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. www.chat.womensaid.org.uk or www.womensaid.org.uk

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
This free phone 24-hour helpline service provides support, information and a listening ear to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. They can also help women and children to find a place of safety within a women’s refuge. www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

Samaritans – 116 123
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support to people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide. www.samaritans.org

Muslim Women’s Helpline – 020 8904 8193 or 020 8908 6715
The Muslim Women’s Helpline aims to provide any Muslim girl or woman in a crisis with a free, confidential listening service and referral to Islamic consultants, plus practical help and information where required. www.mwnhelpline.co.uk

Broken Rainbow – 0800 9995428

This national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Domestic Violence Helpline provides confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family and friends. www.brokenrainbow.org.uk

ManKind Initiative – 01823 334244

A confidential helpline is available for male victims of domestic abuse and male victims of domestic violence across the UK. www.mankind.org.uk

Are you worried about your own behaviour?

RESPECT – 0800 8024040

This organisation offers information, advice and support to perpetrators of abuse. Respect Phoneline is a confidential helpline, email and webchat service for domestic abuse perpetrators and those supporting them. www.respectphoneline.org.uk/