Domestic violence - abusive relationships
Domestic violence can happen within any relationship - it could be within a family or with a boyfriend or girlfriend. It does not have to happen in the home to be classified as domestic violence.There are many different types of domestic violence, including social, physical and emotional.
Domestic violence is about power and control and there are many ways this control can be expressed.
When you are with someone who loves you, you should feel safe, respected and free to be yourself. You should not be made to feel scared, intimidated or controlled.
Who does it affect?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. It happens in all kinds of relationships: heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Statistics show the vast majority of domestic violence incidents are carried out by men or boys and experienced by women and girls.
When does it happen?
It can begin at any stage of the relationship. Domestic violence is rarely a one-off. Incidents generally become more frequent and severe over time.
Am I being abused?
This video shows how abuse can happen in a relationship:
Signs of abuse:
- Is your partner very jealous and possessive of you?
- Do they get angry when you want to spend time with your friends or demand that you spend all your time with them?
- Do they check your phone, email, Facebook and twitter accounts?
- Do they try and get you to defriend people on Facebook, take down your photos, or stop you messaging your friends?
- Are they always calling, texting or BBMing you to check where you are and who you’re with?
- Do they tell you what to wear or how to do your hair?
- Do they laugh at you or put you down in front of other people?
- Do they get aggressive? Do they hit, shove, slap or kick you?
- Do they threaten to harm you – or themself?
- Do they call you names?
- Do they pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to, telling you that “everyone is doing it” or that you would do it “if you really loved them”?
If your boyfriend or girlfriend is trying to control you by using fear, violence or intimidation, you are being abused.
If you have to change your behaviour in any way because you are scared of your boyfriend or girlfriend's reaction, you are being abused.
At times we underestimate the amount of danger we are in, either because we don't realise or don't understand how dangerous a situation is. Part of an abuser’s control can be minimising the seriousness of what they are doing. Being safe is important and there are things you can do to ensure your safety.
If someone is hurting you it can be very scary and it may be hard to know how you can stop it. It is important to remember that no one has the right to be violent towards you and there are people out there who can help. You don’t have to deal with this on your own. Try and talk to someone you trust – perhaps a friend, teacher or parent.
My friend is being abused - what can I do?
If you are worried that a friend or loved one is being abused, there are things you can do to help.
Your friend might be feeling very lonely. They might feel too embarrassed or scared to talk about the abuse. Let them know that you are worried about them and that you are there if they want to talk.Give them time. It might take a while before they feel like they can open up to you.
Don’t judge them or tell them what to do. They may feel that they still love their abuser or that they want to give them another chance. It’s natural to want your friend to be safe, but they have to make their own decisions in their own time.
Support and information
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 now.
See the Broken Rainbow website for support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experiencing domestic violence or call their helpline: 0300 999 5428
Call Childline - they provide a free and confidential helpline for young people of all ages who are in distress or danger. Call Childline on 0800 1111 or use their free online chat to talk to a counsellor.
Last updated: 12 August 2015