Relationship Abuse or domestic violence can happen to anyone by anyone. Find out how to recognise the signs and where to get help.

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Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse, can include emotional, psychological, physical, financial and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members.

Recognising the signs of domestic violence and abuse:

There are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about having power and control over you.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may have an abusive partner or family member.

Emotional abuse

Does the person ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down?
  • isolate you from family and friends?
  • stop you going to university or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?
Psychological abuse

Does the person ever:

  • call you names?
  • yell or swear at you?
  • ignore or isolate you?
  • Exclude you from meaningful events or activities?
  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Do they ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?
Financial abuse

Does the person ever:

  • Control how money is spent?
  • Give you an “allowance”?
  • Deny you direct access to bank accounts, loans or grants?
  • Forbid you from working?
  • Run up large debts on joint accounts without your permission or take actions that leads to you having bad credit?
  • Force you to be involved in fraudulent activity?
  • Spend money on themselves but not allow you to do the same?
  • Give you presents or pay for things and expect something in return?
Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they're male or female.

Does the person ever:

  • touch you in a way you don't want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex (including with other people)?
  • If someone has sex with you when you don't want to, this is rape, even if you are in a relationship
A third of domestic violence and abuse against women escalates during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse. Find out more about domestic violence in pregnancy.

Where to find support?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship or experiencing abuse from a family member, there are lots of people who can help you.

In an emergency:

Report to A & E , Call 999 and request an ambulance

Report to Police , Call 999. There is an option for silent support if talking will put you in danger.

If it is not an emergency, you can speak to your GP(doctor)/healthcare professional

or call the Police non-emergency number 101 or attend any local Police station

You can also call the national domestic violence number, this is open 24/7 and can be anonymous: 0808 2000 247

UEL Support Available

You can find links to more UEL and external support services here.

Codeword scheme 'Ask fo ANI'

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.


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