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What domestic abuse is and who it affects

Domestic abuse occurs across society regardless of age, gender, sexuality, wealth, ethnicity or geography. It's not just between people who are, or have been in, a sexual relationship, but also, between family members or those living in the same house.

If you are in immediate danger please call 999.

Get help

Find out how to get help and support if you are a victim of domestic abuse on the Domestic abuse - get help page.

Signs of domestic abuse

The Home Office provides a clear definition of domestic violence and abuse.

Signs of an abusive relationship include:

  • demanding to know where you have been, what you have been doing, who you have been talking to
  • stopping you seeing friends and family
  • bullying or intimidating you
  • punching, shoving, slapping, kicking, biting, spitting or threatening you or your children with these actions
  • constant criticism aimed at you or your abilities as a partner or parent

The repeat nature of domestic abuse

Any of the above actions could amount to domestic abuse, but it is not just about individual incidents - it's also the repeat nature of these and how they can get worse.

People who carry out domestic abuse believe that they are entitled to behave in this way, it's about power and control over the victim.

It is not always physical violence. It can also include:

  • coercive control and gaslighting
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • threats and intimidation
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
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  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
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