Am I being abused?
As with other areas of the website, we want to answer as many of your questions as possible. To that end, please click on one of the below questions to find the information you are looking for.
- What is domestic abuse / violence?
- What is mental / emotional abuse?
- What is financial abuse?
- What is sexual abuse?
- What is violence / physical abuse?
It is an all too common myth that domestic abuse / domestic violence only occurs between a husband and wife. Domestic abuse can occur between partners of the same sex, between family members, or between partners in a current relationship, or one that has ended.
Sadly, it is also a myth that domestic abuse is just about violence. It isn't. You can be experiencing domestic abuse if your partner doesn't allow you to control your finances, stops you seeing your family, controls your access to information, or even what you wear. Domestic abuse is, in many ways, all about control.
"Research shows us that (domestic abuse) is about “control” and it may start with emotional abuse, but it can soon escalate. As the victims confidence becomes lower the abuse becomes worse until the victim can not see a way out - and that’s what the abuser wants. But there is a way out, in fact there are many ways out and it starts by just being able to talk to someone."
Detective Inspector Roy Wheelwright - Warwickshire Police
Not all forms of domestic abuse are crimes, but they will still affect your quality of life. By addressing domestic abuse at an early stage, it is far easier for you to recover.
This website aims to give you as much information as possible to help you take control of your situation. You've already taken your first step in visiting this website. However, the second step will need to be your choice, when you are ready.
Remember - if anyone is abusing your children - it is serious, and you have a duty to protect them from harm.
Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have ever been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Intimate partners could mean boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, or other sexual partner.
Family members includes step/half family (e.g. step-daughter or half-brother) and extended family (e.g. uncle, cousin, grandmother).
Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim.
It occurs across the whole of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability, religion, class, or lifestyle and income.
Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour', forced marriage and female genital mutilation are also considered acts of domestic abuse.
Does your partner criticise the way you look all the time? Domestic abuse often starts off small, with lots of different events that gradually chip away or erode your confidence.
If you are being mentally or emotionally abused, you might be on the receiving end of language designed to humiliate, stalking, blaming, intimidation and threaten. You may also experience the destruction of personal belongings.
You may receive threats:
- To take children away
- To have children taken away
- To have you deported
- To have you sectioned
- To abuse your children, family, friends or pets
- To kill
- To commit suicide
- To mutilate you or your loved ones
- To stalk you
(any of which could be in person, via phone call, email or text message)
Intimidation and Isolation
You may experience:
- Repeated criticism
- Telling you that you are ugly / worthless / useless
- Preventing contact with family and friends
- Humiliating you in front of others
- Giving you a curfew
- Stopping or monitoring phone calls
It is possible that you may be on the receiving end of:
- Blame for the abuse
Your partner may:
- Manipulate you
- Ignore you
- Undermine or confuse you
- Tell you that you are losing your mind
If you are experiencing mental / emotional abuse, you may want to talk to someone.
If you are experiencing financial abuse you may experience your partner / family member:
- Building debt up in your name
- Witholding money from you
- Stealing money from you
- Limiting or preventing access to money
- Not letting you work
- Using family money for alcohol/ drugs
- Claiming and keeping benefits
- Selling your possessions
- Not paying child support
- Refusing to pay bills
- Forcing you to earn money for them / another person
- Threatening to report to you to the Benefits Agency or other authorities
If you are experiencing financial abuse, you may want to talk to someone.
Your partner may ask you to do things in return for your basic needs and requirements. In a relationship, if you do not want to have sex, you do not have to. If you are forced, you are being abused.
Some forms of sexual abuse can include:
- Forcing you to engage in sexual acts
- Degrading treatment
- Sexual name-calling
- Forcing you to prostitute yourself
- Making you wear clothes that you haven't chosen
- Forcing you to take part in or look at pornographic images
- Forcing you to have sexual relationships with other people
Sexual abuse of any form is never right. If you have been sexually abused - you may want to get more information here.
Violence and physical abuse can be directed at you, or at family, friends or pets.
You may experience your partner / family member:
- Hitting / punching / kicking / shoving you
- Spitting at or on you
- Strangling you
- Pulling your hair
- Making angry or physical threats towards you
- Biting you
- Burning you
- Using weapons on you
- Forcing you to use drugs and / or alcohol
- Depriving you of sleep
- Hurting your pet
- Invading your space
If you are experiencing physical abuse, you may want to talk to someone.