Domestic abuse can be when children and young children live with it in their own families for example, they could be seeing or hearing their mum being hurt by their dad, step dad or even an older sibling.

Abuse can happen to both women and men by both women and men.

It can also occur in young people’s intimate relationships by a boyfriend or girlfriend. This is called teenage relationships abuse.

Which relationships can experience abuse?

domestic abuse

What types of abuse can happen?

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse doesn’t always involve physical violence.

If your boyfriend/girlfriend tries to control or dominate you, threatens you or makes you feel nervous, that could be abusive behaviour.

  • Does your boyfriend/girlfriend embarrass or humiliate you in front of family, friends or in public?
  • Do they deliberately destroy your property or cherished possessions?
  • Do they force you to engage in sexual acts that you are not comfortable with?
  • Do they threaten to publish explicit photos of you on social network sites or send you or your friends threatening text messages?


This is domestic abuse.

Abuse can happen at any time but it often begins or gets worse after you’ve broken up, when a girl is pregnant or has recently had a baby.


The law on domestic abuse is clear.

In England and Wales the cross-governmental definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional. 



Domestic abuse isn’t just something that happens to adults.

Young people under 16 years of age can still experience domestic abuse. This would be defined as a safeguarding concern. This is treated differently because the young person is still legally defined as a child. This doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be taken seriously or there isn’t help available. The police and professionals recognise that domestic abuse does happen to young people under the age of 16 and that many young people live with domestic abuse in their own families.

5% of all domestic abuse incidents reported involve girls aged between 16-18 years old.  Many more are going unreported.


Domestic abuse is something people may think they know a lot about. However, many of the things that are said about domestic abuse are not true.

Test your knowledge, and try out this quiz on domestic abuse. The quiz will let you know the right answer for each question.

Support is available

There are lots of support services available and different ways of getting in contact. We have listed some in our ‘Get Help’ area.

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