Recognising Abuse

There are many different types of abuse and abusive behaviour, and sometimes we don’t know that abuse is happening. Recognising the signs of abuse can be the first step to getting help and ensuring your safety.

Domestic abuse is about the misuse of power and can involve controlling, coercive or threatening behaviours. Every situation is different but there are some common factors which may help you to spot and recognise abusive behaviour.

Physical abuse - punching, kicking, slapping, hitting, strangling, restraint, pushing, burning,

Verbal abuse - name calling, accusing, mocking, threatening to cause harm to you, your children, your family, pets or even themselves.

Financial control - withholding money, removing access to car, phone, laptop or internet.

Sexual abuse - pressuring or intimidating you to have sex when you don’t want to, forcing you to have sex with other people, forcing you to perform sex acts you do not want to do.

Stalking and harassment - following you, disrespect of privacy, checking phone calls or social media and emails, digital or online harassment, accompanying you every time you go out.

Denial and blame - denying that the abuse happens or blaming you for abuse and promising that it will never happen again.

Isolation - stopping you from seeing friends, family and social networks, monitoring or blocking calls and texts.

Is it abuse?

These questions may help you to recognise if you are in an abusive relationship:

  • Has this person ever behaved in a jealous or controlling way?

  • Has this person said or done anything of a sexual nature that makes you feel bad? 

  • Has this person physically hurt you, perhaps pulling hair or twisting your arm, or slapped, kicked or punched you?

  • Have you ever changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say? 

  • Does this person control your money and criticise you for spending money?

  • Do you ever feel frightened of this person?

  • Does this person threaten you, your children or your pets?

  • Does this person check up on you, asking to see your phone messages or call logs?

  • Does this person check where you are a lot of the time and tell you where you can or can't go?

If you have said yes to the majority of these questions you may be experiencing domestic abuse. NDAS can help you. We provide practical and emotional support and can help you to develop a safety plan, find a temporary refuge or safe housing, discuss and organise legal options and support you to regain confidence and independence.


To get help now, call 01434 608030, and to find out more about what NDAS can do for you, read our Help and Advice page.

You may be worried that this person, your partner or someone else who uses this computer may see that you have visited this page, check our Cover Your Tracks advice to find out how you can hide details of websites you have visited.

"NDAS helped me to realise the difference between an unhealthy relationship and a positive one.The programme has helped me to reclaim my life and realise that its okay to be me."