Domestic Violence and Abuse 

Domestic abuse is where someone close to you (usually your spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or ex) behaves in a way towards you which is damaging. “Abuse” or “violence” can be physical violence but it isn't always– it might be physical, mental, emotional, psychological, sexual, or financial. Studies have talked about abusers using power and control in different ways and Duluth produced a power and control wheel which contains the different ways an abuser can harm the other person. Abusers can use multiple different types of control.


It’s estimated that one in four women will experience domestic abuse at some point in her life – this is a terrible statistic, but does show that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you are not alone. It is important to recognise that people of all genders experience domestic violence, with abuse being a taboo in society for many different groups including members of the LGBT+ community and male survivors. 

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, any of the following behaviours – speak to someone. This might be a friend, your personal tutor, someone you trust or one of the organisations we list below. The important thing is that someone knows what you are going through.


  • physical attacks, such as slapping/punching, pulling hair, strangling or using weapons
  • intimidation, such as throwing and breaking things
  • humiliation, name calling or constant criticism
  • imposing unreasonable rules, curfews or ultimatums
  • controlling what you wear, who you see or how you look
  • threatening you or those close to you (including friends, children or even pets)
  • forcing you to take part in sexual acts you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with
  • depriving you of financial independence

What to do

It's important to speak to someone if you are in a situation which is harmful to you. Abusers often thrive on isolating their victims: just by making someone aware of what is happening to you, takes away some of their power. There will be people around you who can help no matter how difficult the situation feels - someone from the Helpzone can listen to you in an impartial way and help you with what happens next. They can also support you if your studies are suffering as a result of the abuse.

As ever, if you think you might be in danger or need emergency assistance, call 999.

People who can help

If you're worried about someone knowing you've visited this page or the links below, Women's Aid has some excellent guidance here.

The University Counselling Service 01242 714542

The University Helpzone 01242 714444

National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247

Women's Aid

National Centre for Domestic Violence 0800 970 2070 Text: NCDV to 60777

Galop LGBT+ Anti-Violence 0800 999 5428

Respect Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327

The Police non-emergency number 101

Mankind (Male Victims only): 01823 334244