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Get help if you think you might be the abuser

Domestic abuse is not always very obvious, and it can start with small events which will gradually become bigger and worse.

We have made a list of behaviours which are classed as domestic abuse. If you notice that your behaviour fits one of the patterns, know that there is help available for you. But remember, the quicker you seek help, the better the outcome will be.

Mental/emotional abuse

  • Criticising, telling your victim they are worthless, ugly
  • Blaming them for arguments and abuse
  • Intimidating and threatening (threatening to take the children away or telling them if you leave they will have nothing)
  • Destroying personal belongings
  • Telling your victim what to wear, where to go or when to go
  • Isolating your victim from family and friends
  • Acting jealous, accusing them of having an affair

Threatening behaviours

  • Threatening to hurt or kill your victim
  • Threatening to destroy things belonging to your victim
  • Standing over, invading your loved one’s personal space
  • Threatening to kill yourself or the children
  • Read your victim’s emails, texts or letters
  • Threatening to take the children away
  • Stalk your victim (in person or online)

Financial abuse

  • Building up debt in your victim’s name
  • Stealing money or benefits from your victim
  • Limiting or preventing your victim from having access to money
  • Using family money for alcohol/drugs
  • Selling your victim’s possessions
  • Refusing to pay bills or child support
  • Not letting your victim work or forcing your victim to earn money for you 

Sexual abuse

  • Touching your partner in a way they don’t want to be touched
  • Forcing them to engage in sexual acts
  • Making unwanted sexual demands
  • Pressuring your partner to have sex
  • Forcing them to take part in or look at pornographic images

Violence/physical abuse

  • Hitting/punching / kicking/shoving
  • Spitting
  • Strangling
  • Pulling hair
  • Biting
  • Burning
  • Using weapons
  • Forcing someone to use drugs and/or alcohol
  • Depriving someone of sleep
  • Hurting a pet
  • Invading other’s space

If you are concerned about your behaviour or the behaviour of someone you know, there is support available.

The Respect Phoneline is an anonymous and confidential helpline for men and women who are abusing their partners and families. It is open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm. The helpline also takes calls from partners or ex-partners, friends and relatives who are concerned about perpetrators.

A webchat service is available Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 11am and from 3pm to 4pm.

Telephone: 0808 802 4040