Domestic violence and abuse

Regardless of your gender, age, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation or what type of family you come from, anyone can become a victim of violent and abusive behaviour by a partner or a family member. That’s why it’s important to know where to go for help

What domestic violence and abuse is

Domestic violence and abuse is violent behaviour of any kind including emotional abuse within a family or a relationship. This includes one family member abusing another or violence between a couple in a relationship.

Domestic violence and abuse can include child abuse and can be perpetrated by a family member. This is when a child or young person is harmed, neglected or bullied by a family member. You don't have to be physically hurt to be a victim.

If you're constantly being sworn at, teased or told that you're unwanted, this may also be classed as emotional abuse.

If you're being hurt

If you've been physically or mentally harmed by a relative or someone you're in a relationship with, remember that you are not to blame. Many victims of domestic violence believe that they have created or caused the problems that led to the violence but this isn’t the case. The only person to blame is the one who is committing the violent acts.

If you feel confident enough, you should call the police. They take crimes like this very seriously and will be able to act quickly. If you don't want to call the police, talk to a friend or a teacher that you can trust. The worst thing you can do is stay quiet and allow it to continue.

You can also contact the 24 hour domestic and sexual violence helpline for support on:

If you know someone else is being hurt

If you're worried that one of your friends, family members or carers is a victim of domestic violence and abuse, tell them about your concerns. It's best to help them talk through the situation and support them if they decide to report the matter themselves.

Teenage relationship advice

A recent NSPCC survey showed that a quarter of girls and 18 per cent of boys have experienced physical violence in a relationship.

Abuse in teen relationships doesn’t just cover physical violence. Other examples of this type of abuse include:

  • pressuring a partner into having sex
  • checking on a partner by accessing their social media profiles
  • controlling behaviour
  • unnecessary jealousy or anger

Remember that abuse in a relationship is never okay. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect from their partner.

Stopping domestic and sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland

A seven year strategy has been produced detailing plans to tackle these issues.

Organisations with further information

If you're worried about issues related to domestic violence and abuse, there are a number of organisations you can contact for helpful advice.

ChildLine

If you're a victim of domestic violence and abuse and you're worried about what will happen if you report it to the police, you should call ChildLine on 0800 1111. They'll be able to let you know what will happen if you tell someone about your situation and help you work out what to do next.

ChildLine is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Calls to ChildLine are free and they'll never appear on your phone bill. You may also be able to find useful information on their website.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) operates a helpline that offers confidential advice for people who are worried about cases of possible child abuse.

The NSPCC cannot investigate suspected child abuse cases, but they'll be able to provide you with the contact details of the relevant local social services teams. The number is 0808 800 5000 and it's open 24 hours a day.

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