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Is it domestic abuse?


What is Domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviours by a partner or ex-partner, which includes controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, intimidating and/or violent behaviours.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, social class, employment status, disability, or whether they have children or not.

Domestic abuse is largely experienced by women and perpetrated by men, with one in four women experiencing domestic abuse. We do recognise that men can be victims of domestic abuse. If this is you please see the “What about Men” section of our website.

More often than not when we hear the term “domestic abuse” we think about physical violence. For some people who experience domestic abuse, physical abuse occurs within the relationship; however physical abuse does not have to be happening for a relationship to be abusive. For lots of women who live with domestic abuse there may be no scars, bruising or broken bones. Domestic abuse is a complex pattern of controlling behaviour which seeks to gain power and control through numerous abusive behaviours and tactics. There are many forms of abuse which may exist within an abusive relationships, these can include:

  • Emotional/Mental/Verbal Abuse
    • Put downs
    • Threatening behaviour or verbal threats
    • Isolation from friends and families
  • Physical Abuse
    • Hitting, slapping, pushing
    • Assault
  • Financial Abuse
    • With-holding money
  • Sexual Abuse & Coercion
    • Rape
  • Digital Abuse
    • Monitoring phones

All forms of abuse are serious and harmful and can affect an individual in vast, significant ways.

Am I experiencing Domestic Abuse?

  1. Have you changed something about yourself because you were worried about what your partner would do or say?
  2. Are you ever afraid of your partner?
  3. Has your partner ever made it hard for you to see your family or friends?
  4. Has your partner made you feel as though nothing you ever do is right?
  5. Does your partner want to know where you are and what you are doing all of the time?
  6. Has your partner ever tried to stop you getting a job or going to college?
  7. Has your partner ever threatened you or your children?
  8. Does your partner make you feel as though you are walking on eggshells?
  9. Does your partner tell you that anything that goes wrong is your fault?
  10. Has your partner ever destroyed any of your belongings?
  11. Does your partner call you names and make you feel bad about yourself?
  12. Does your partner give you the silent treatment when you don’t do what he wants?
  13. Does your partner ever make you feel guilty to get you to do things?
  14. Does your partner control all your money?
  15. Does your partner use the children against you by telling you that if you leave he’ll take the children?
  16. Has your partner ever threatened to hurt himself if you were to leave?
  17. Does your partner accuse you are cheating on him?
  18. Does your partner check your phone or your social media accounts to see who you are in contact with?
  19. Has your partner ever gone on and on at you to get you to have sex with him?
  20. Does your partner make you feel as though there is something wrong with you?

If you have answered yes to any of these you may be experiencing domestic abuse. It is completely up to you what you do.

If you want to access support or talk with CASWA, you can contact us by telephone: 0345 408 0151, e-mail: or the contact us button on the website. You can also download and complete a referral form.

You could speak to a trusted professional (e.g. GP, Social Worker, Health Visitor) about your concerns about your relationship and ask them to make a referral to our service.

You could also contact Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline (24/7) on 0800 027 1234.