Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence and abuse happens in the home. When a family member, current or former partner is violent or abusive to you, you’re experiencing domestic violence. It can involve physical contact, verbal or emotional abuse and threats to harm or kill you. Men and women experience domestic violence and abuse.

People who experience domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence and abuse can affect you whatever your:

  • age
  • race
  • gender
  • sexuality

Victims often feel isolated and frightened. 

Violent and abusive behaviour in the home

It’s domestic violence or abuse when an adult child, parent, other close family member or partner makes you feel afraid in your own home by:

  • threatening you
  • injuring you
  • controlling you

You don't have to be physically hurt to be a victim.

Domestic violence and abuse can include child abuse by a family member. This is when a child or young person is harmed, neglected or bullied by a family member. 

Emotional abuse

Domestic violence and abuse includes emotional abuse in a family or a relationship. It's emotional abuse if you're constantly being sworn at, teased or told you're unwanted.

Recognising domestic violence and abuse

You might not always realise you’re experiencing domestic violence or abuse. A partner or former partner may physically harm you or mentally abuse you. Sometimes victims of domestic violence think they’re causing problems that lead to violence. The only person to blame is the person being violent or abusive.

How to get help

You can get help to leave a home where you don’t feel safe by contacting:

Hiding your tracks online

If you search for information online on a home computer, it’s possible the abuser can check your online history.

To read more about how to hide your online tracks, go to:

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. You could help them talk through the situation and support them if they want to report the abuse.

Abuse in teenage relationships

Abuse in teenage relationships doesn’t always mean physical violence. Other examples of this type of abuse are:

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

To read more about different types of violent and abusive behaviour, go to:


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 contact Childline. They'll explain what will happen if you tell someone about your situation and help you work out what to do next.

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

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has a helpline that gives confidential advice to people concerned about possible child abuse cases.

More useful links

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