What is domestic abuse?

We all have arguments with our partners, family and other people close to us from time to time. We all say and do things that make the people we care about unhappy and that we later regret. But if this has become our usual way of life, it's an indication of an abusive relationship - this is often called domestic violence or abuse.


Domestic abuse isn't just physical violence. It’s about someone you know trying to control your life. This could be a partner, ex partner, or someone in the family. It can be financial, psychological, emotional or sexual and there is no excuse for it.  Living with it can affect long term wellbeing and self esteem and if children are living in the same house, they will be affected too.


Anyone can experience domestic abuse. Any gender, age, race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. 


What is domestic abuse?

Anyone answering yes to one or more of these questions below may be living with domestic abuse. These questions have been taken from Women's Aid England's Survivors Handbook

  • Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Has your partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
  • Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
  • Does your partner unjustly accuse you of flirting or of having affairs with others?
  • Does your partner constantly belittle or humiliate you, or regularly criticise or insult you in front of other people?
  • Are you ever afraid of your partner?
  • Have you ever changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you?
  • Has your partner ever destroyed any of your possessions deliberately?
  • Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you or your children?
  • Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you are unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to do something that you really did not want to do?
  • Has your partner ever tried to prevent you from taking necessary medication, or seeking medical help when you felt you needed it?
  • Has your partner ever tried to control you by telling you you could be deported because of your immigration status?
  • Has your partner ever threatened to take your children away, or said he would refuse to let you take them with you, or even to see them, if you left him?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have sex with him or with other people? Has he or she made you participate in sexual activities that you are uncomfortable about?
  • Has your partner ever tried to prevent your leaving the house?
  • Does your partner blame his use of alcohol or drugs for his behaviour?
  • Does your partner control your use of alcohol or drugs? For example, by forcing your intake or by withholding substances.

If you think that you or someone you know might be experiencing domestic abuse there are lots of ways to get help.

WAIS contact numbers:
Helpline: 0808 800 0340
Referrals: 0115 947 6490
Office: 0115 947 5257




Did you know …

Domestic violence is under-reported, but research shows that:

  • today, 1 in 10 women will be experiencing abuse.
  • 1 in 4 women will experience abuse at some point in their lives.
  • each week at least 2 women are killed by their partner or ex partner.
  • on average, 35 assaults happen before the police are called.
  • domestic abuse costs the UK’s statutory agencies an estimated £3 billion a year.