TRAIN

Traveller and Romani Advice and Information Network 

What is Domestic Abuse?

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is the abuse of one partner within an intimate or family relationship. It is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner.


The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. 

Who does it affect?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity.


It happens in all kinds of relationships. Statistics show the vast majority of domestic violence incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women

When does it happen?

It can begin at any stage of the relationship

What causes domestic violence?

Domestic violence is caused by the abuser’s desire for power and control. It stems from an imbalance of power.
It is not caused by alcohol, drugs, unemployment, stress or ill health. These are only excuses or justifications for an abuser’s behaviour. 


​Domestic abuse can include:

  • sexual abuse and rape (including within a relationship)
  • punching, kicking, cutting, hitting with an object
  • withholding money or preventing someone from earning money
  • taking control over aspects of someone's everyday life, which can include where they go and what they wear
  • not letting someone leave the house
  • reading emails, text messages or letters
  • threatening to kill or harm them, a partner, another family member or pet.


Children and young people witnessing domestic abuse

Witnessing domestic abuse is really distressing and scary for a child, and causes serious harm. Children living in a home where domestic abuse is happening are at risk of other types of abuse too. Children can experience domestic abuse or violence in lots of different ways. They might:

  • see the abuse
  • hear the abuse from another room
  • see a parent's injuries or distress afterwards
  • be hurt by being nearby or trying to stop the abuse


Teenagers experiencing domestic abuse

Domestic abuse can happen in any relationship, and it affects young people too. 

They may not realise that what's happening is abuse. Even if they do, they might not tell anyone about it because they're scared of what will happen, or ashamed about what people will think.

Are you experiencing domestic violence?
Do you know of someone who is experiencing abuse and may need help and support?

The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.


24-hour National Domestic Violence
Freephone Helpline


0808 2000 247

Run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge