Domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviours, violence or abuse between intimate partners or family members.

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Domestic abuse can take many different forms, including:

  • physical abuse: pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons to injure or hurt someone;
  • sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone into having sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography;
  • financial abuse: taking money, controlling finances and not letting someone work;
  • emotional abuse/coercive control: repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone and playing mind games;
  • digital/online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone; and
  • honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

How should I feel if I’m suffering from, or have suffered from, domestic abuse?

There is no right or wrong to how you should feel. Your feelings will be personal to you and your situations.

Whether the abuse is still taking place or not, it is common to feel:

  • anxious, scared and nervous;
  • frightened to make mistakes;
  • sick, unwell with frequent headaches; and
  • like you’re not in control.

You may also have trouble sleeping, experienced nightmares and have trouble socialising.

These are all perfectly normal but it’s important to know that you can recover from these with specialist help from us.

I am suffering from domestic abuse. What can I do?

  • If you feel able to, call the police on 101.
  • Whether you call the police or not, contact Voice – we won’t tell anyone we’ve been speaking with you if you don’t want us to.

Voice is here to give you the support that will empower you to escape from abusive situations and move on from the impact of abuse.

People who abuse others are trying to exert control, and it is important for you to know that you can escape these situations, no matter what the abuser may have said. When you feel able to, speak to Voice.

We also have strong links to specialist domestic abuse agencies that may be able to help further.

Read about how we’ve helped others suffering from domestic abuse.