this is domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is defined as physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse as well as controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour between those aged 16 or over who are (or have been) intimate partners but also includes family members. But it’s not limited to those things; it could be something totally different. And it doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, old or young, it happens regardless of your race, religion, ethnicity, class and sexuality.

Domestic abuse also encompasses so called ‘Honour based Violence’, Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Stalking.

By keeping me safe from danger, and educating me on why I allowed the abuse to happen and how to prevent it in the future! I owe them my new life- Former Refuge Client

It is very complex and it is a pattern of behaviours designed to control and intimidate, it’s difficult to understand and to recognise. And no two people will experience the same combinations of abuse, this is why we urge you to get in touch so we can discuss safety and support options with you.
Sometimes things don’t feel right but it’s hard to verbalize why, perhaps these definitions will help, but remember, they aren’t exhaustive and if someone’s behaviours toward you don’t feel right, or they scare, or hurt you then we can help.


Kicking, scalding, throwing items, biting, pushing, pinching, spitting


Degradation, threats, displays of total power, blame, isolation


Rape, sexual assault, coercion, use of social media


Withholding money, taking money, made to account for every penny

Controlling behaviour

Behaviour designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour

Acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.