What domestic abuse is

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. Find out what domestic abuse is and what you can do if you are experiencing it.

Get help with domestic abuse

You can speak to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline at any time on 0800 027 1234.

They have a web chat option if you don't want to speak on the phone.

If you are threatened or attacked, call 999 and ask for the police.

The definition of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is behaviour that causes you mental or physical harm. This is behaviour by either a partner or an ex-partner.

Domestic abuse can be physical or sexual violence. It also includes:

  • making you depend on someone

  • isolating you from friends or family

  • controlling you

  • telling you where you can and cannot go

  • frightening, humiliating or punishing you

Anyone can experience domestic abuse

Everyone has the same legal protection in law. Women, men and non-binary people can all experience domestic abuse by a partner or ex-partner.

Domestic abuse is a crime

You can report the person abusing you to the police. The police can take action against someone behaving in an abusive way, and they could face criminal prosecution.

You can also:

Get help if you are experiencing domestic abuse

There is lots of support for people experiencing domestic abuse. You can get advice, find somewhere safe to stay or find the right people to talk to.

Find somewhere safe to stay if you need to leave.

Find the right organisation to support you.

Last updated: 28 June 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England