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What is domestic abuse?

Lots of people think domestic abuse means physical violence but is it often so much more than that. Domestic abuse includes:

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Emotional abuse


Psychological abuse


Physical abuse


Digital & online abuse


Sexual abuse


Economic abuse


Coercive & controlling behaviour


Violent or threatening behaviour


Stalking & harassment

To find out more about different types of abuse or who can be affected by domestic abuse, please click the links below:

Domestic abuse happens between intimate partners or family members. It might not be easy to identify domestic abuse at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, in other relationships, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time. Domestic abuse isn’t a one off – it usually a pattern of behaviour, and the abuser will try different things to gain control.

Often the abuser will tell the victim that it is their fault that they are behaving this way and that the victim is making them act like this. This is not true. The abuser says this to make them feel responsible and guilty so that they have more control over the victim. The abuser might also tell the victim it’s just because they love them, but love is never an excuse to treat someone this way. If abuse happens, it is never okay.

If something doesn't feel right in your relationship - talk to us.

What is domestic abuse?
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I feel trapped and alone

Red speech bubble that reads I've left them but it doesn't stop

I've left them but it doesn't stop

Navy speech bubble that reads I have nowhere to go

I have nowhere to go

Pink speech bubble that reads I feel like I'm walking on eggshells

I feel like I'm walking on eggshells

Navy speech bubble that reads they control everything

They control everything

Sound familiar?

If something doesn't feel right in your relationship, it probably isn't. If you're not sure, give us a call and we can talk to you about your situation. Find out more about what happens when you contact us by going to our 'How we can help' page:

Who is affected?

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Women are more likely to be subjected to domestic abuse than men. According to the ONS Crime Survey, 29% of women have been victims of domestic abuse in their adult lifetime [1]. This means on average, more than 1 in 4 women have been subjected to domestic abuse in the UK.


Domestic abuse perpetrated by men against women is rooted in women’s unequal status in society and is part of the wider social problem of male violence against women and girls.


Whilst both men and women may experience incidents of domestic abuse, women are considerably more likely to experience multiple, repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence. Women are also more likely to be subjected to coercive and controlling behaviour, and to fear the abuser.

Women can also be victims of different forms of abuse including forced marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called 'honour-based' abuse. Women might be subjected to abuse from one or more family members, as well as current or ex-partners. The abuser could be male or female.

WWIN provide support for female victims of domestic abuse, no matter what their situation is. Find out more about how we can help:

[1] Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 25 November 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2022

Domestic Abuse is a gendered crime, which means that statistically more women are victims of domestic abuse and more men are perpetrators of domestic abuse. However, anybody can be a victim or a perpetrator of domestic abuse. At WWIN we support anyone subjected to domestic abuse regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, or disability.

Click the tabs below for more information:

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Domestic abuse is never the victim's fault.

Who is affected
Types of abuse

Types of abuse

These are just some forms of domestic abuse and some examples of tactics that abusers will use to control their victim. More than anything domestic abuse is about one person having power and control over another.

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Emotional & psychological abuse

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Economic abuse

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Coercive & controlling behaviour

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Stalking & harassment

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