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Types of domestic abuse

Types of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is not acceptable; anyone experiencing domestic violence and abuse is not to blame and are not alone. Help and support is available.

Physical or sexual violence, stalking and harassment

Domestic abuse can range from slaps, kicks, rough handling, blows, burning, punching, shaking, strangling, rape and wounding to murder.

Domestic abuse may also include a range of behaviours that, when viewed as isolated incidents, do not seem much. If they involve a pattern of behaviour that result in you feeling fear, alarm or distress, it is abuse.

This may include the abuser:

  • sending repeated texts
  • emails, letters, cards or ‘presents’
  • following you or turning up at your home or workplace
  • harassing friends, family and neighbours
  • vandalising property.

Financial abuse

Domestic abuse can also include financial abuse such as:

  • keeping someone short of money
  • taking their money
  • preventing someone from getting or keeping a job
  • destroying possessions
  • refusing access to a bank account 
  • running up debts in the victim’s name.

Emotional or psychological abuse

Domestic abuse also includes threats of violence and emotional or psychological abuse.

Whilst everyone’s experience is unique, examples of abusive behaviour can include the following types of behaviour:

  • Keeping you from spending time with friends or family members.
  • Being excessively jealous and possessive.
  • Making unreasonable demands for attention.
  • Blaming you for all the arguments or problems in the relationship.
  • Wanting to make all the decisions.
  • Invasion of privacy – opens and reads mail, e-mail or goes through personal belongings.
  • Getting angry for no apparent reason.
  • Seeming like two different people – charming or loving one minute, mean and hurtful the next.
  • Constant criticism, humiliation or belittling.
  • Controlling finances or stealing money.
  • Damaging property.
  • Harassing you at work, or school or college.
  • Criticising your body and appearance.
  • Preventing you from practicing safer sex.
  • Forcing or coercing you to have sex or hurting you during sex.
  • Becoming angry if you don’t go along with their sexual demands.
  • Blaming their behaviour on alcohol, drugs or their own history of abuse.
  • Threatening you with physical harm or makes you feel afraid.
  • Pushing, shoving, grabbing, punching or hitting.
  • Threatening or assaulting with weapons, such as household objects or knives.
  • Constantly threatening mood changes or impending rage.
  • Making you feel like you’re ‘walking on egg shells’ or living with constant stress, anxiety or fear.

Getting help

If you, a family member or a friend, are being abused, threatened, physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, ex-partner or family member, this is domestic abuse.

Admitting that you are experiencing domestic abuse may seem very difficult but it is an important step towards getting protection for yourself and your children.

Call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

Call our free and confidential Live Fear Free Helpline:

0808 80 10 800

(Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)


About Live Fear Free

Live Fear Free is a Welsh Government website, providing information and advice for those suffering with violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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