What is an abusive relationship?

Are you in a relationship where you feel unsafe?

Because you’re scared you’re going to be hurt? Feel intimidated? Or controlled?

This is abuse.

You don’t have to stand for it

It’s not just someone hitting you. Some people can be in an abusive relationship without even realising.

How can you tell if it’s happening to you?

Emotional abuse can be…

  • constantly putting you down
  • constantly checking where you are
  • stopping you from seeing your friends or family

Sexual abuse can be…

  • feeling pressurised to do sexual things such as being touched in a way you don’t like, and that feels wrong
  • being forced to have sex (oral, vaginal or anal) when you don’t want to
  • being forced to look at sexual pictures or videos
  • making you watch someone doing something sexual. This can include someone flashing or exposing themselves to you
  • being made to send a ‘nude selfie’, or sexually explicit information about yourself, known as sexting

Financial abuse can be…

  • not giving you any money
  • checking what you spend money on
  • stopping you from working
  • taking all your money from you

Physical abuse can be…

  • hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, pinching, burning, hair pulling
  • throwing or smashing things
  • making threats to hurt you or someone you love

Economic abuse can be…

  • Controlling how you access or earn money
  • controlling what you spend money on
  • destroying your resources/properties and economic security
  • taking advantage of your money and economic resources
  • threatening, manipulating or coercing you

It can be very difficult to talk about your feelings and what’s happening in your life, but some problems just won’t go away.

So if you have been affected by an abusive relationship and need advice or want to talk to someone, please use one of the websites or freephone numbers below.



Helpline: 0800 1111

Lines open 24 hours a day.

National Domestic Violence Helpline

Run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.


Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Lines open 24 hours a day.

Disrespect Nobody

National campaign website which includes information on consent, sexting, porn and how to have your say.


Surviving economic abuse

A charity dedicated to supporting people experiencing economic abuse Find out more about what it is and where to get help if you need it.


Men’s Advice Line

This is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.


Telephone: 0800 801 0327

Lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

The Hideout

A Women’s Aid website for children and young people to help them understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it’s happening to you.


Domestic violence within LGBT relationships


Telephone: 0800 999 5428