Understanding Abuse

There are so many different types of abuse and abusive behaviour which can affect us.  Sometimes we know it’s happening, sometimes we ignore it.

Domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate between people.

Regardless of age, background, sexuality, ethnicity or gender, domestic abuse can harm the lives of anybody. Whatever the form of abuse it is NEVER acceptable.

Domestic abuse is a particularly prevalent and damaging crime which affects a wide range of individuals from all backgrounds.  Domestic abuse involves the misuse of power and is based on a range of controlling behaviours which can include, but is not limited to, physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse, where the abuser is known to that person through an existing or past relationship. Domestic abuse can occur in any relationship, including same-sex relationships and within family networks.

Typically, domestic abuse escalates over a period of time and victims of abuse may experience several different types of abuse from the same perpetrator.

Research indicates that abusive behaviour is predominantly perpetrated by men and the overwhelming majority of victims are women and children. However, it is also recognised that domestic abuse affects people, irrespective of sexuality, age, ethnicity and social background or physical or intellectual ability.

People experiencing abuse do NOT accept what is happening to them but they may try to cope with it, avoid it, understand it or fix it. They may minimise what is happening and blame themselves. They are likely to feel ashamed, embarrassed and alone.   This is a normal response to abuse and even if they leave the relationship it does not automatically follow that the abuse will stop and that they will then be safe.


Sexual Violence

In addition to all of the circumstances that sexual abuse may happen as a form of domestic abuse, that is when it is perpetrated by a current or ex-partner, or other family member, sexual violence may occur outside of any current or previous relationship.  The perpetrator may be known to the survivor but could also be a complete stranger.


If you feel that you are a victim of abusive behaviour, see our Get Help Now section.