Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is when one person, within an intimate or family relationship, uses threatening behaviour or violence to control another against their wishes.

Types of abuse

  • emotional – being called names, being made to feel bad about yourself, being stopped from going out, being told what you can or can’t wear
  • financial – being kept short of money or not being allowed to make decisions about money
  • physical – being hit, punched, kicked, slapped or pushed
  • psychological – being told you are a bad parent, or that children will be taken away from you or being deliberately isolated from friends and family
  • sexual – being forced to have sex when you do not want to

Get support

If you need to talk to someone about domestic abuse, either for yourself or on behalf of someone else, you can call the following services:

Refuge helpline


24 hour national domestic abuse helpline

Give support

Many people who have lived with domestic abuse say that the best help they received came from a friend or family member. Often, this support was what helped them to escape the situation with their children.

We and partner agencies have teamed up to produce a booklet to help people in this situation. 'Domestic Abuse: friend and family help guide' was written by Doctor Alison Gregory (University of Bristol) and is packed full of tips and advice for anyone worried that someone they know is living with abuse and needs help.

Domestic abuse contacts

For professionals wishing to find out how to report incidents of domestic abuse