This is ABUSE

Help uscall outabuse


Below you'll find answers to all the most commonly asked questions about abuse in relationships. If you can't find the answer you need then please click here to see a list of organisations and registered charities that can help you.

What is abuse? Q:

Abusive behaviour can be:
•    violent (hitting, kicking, slapping)
•    emotional (humiliating and putting your partner down)
•    sexual (forcing them to do sexual acts they don’t want to)

Abusive relationships can start with verbal or emotional abuse and can often escalate into physical abuse.

Some warning signs of potential violence and abusive behaviour are:
•    extreme jealousy
•    anger when your partner wants to spend time with friends or family
•    isolating your partner from friends and family
•    trying to control your partner's life (how they dress, who they hang out with and what they say)
•    humiliating them, putting them down
•    threatening to harm them or to self–harm if they leave you
•    demanding to know where they are all the time
•    monitoring their calls and emails, threatening them if they don’t respond instantly
•    excessive alcohol drinking and drug use
•    explosive anger
•    using force during an argument
•    blaming others for your problems or feelings
•    being verbally abusive
•    threatening behaviour towards others
•    pressuring your partner to send sexual texts and images
•    sharing any sexual text and images of your partner with your mates


 Using violence to control your partner is unacceptable. It’s turning you into someone you don’t want to be and will have long-term effects on your partner’s physical and mental health.

Being violent can also wreck your prospects. It can lead to a loss of respect from your mates, loneliness and trouble at school or work. To manage your anger safely in the short term, you’ll need to recognise the physical signs of when you get angry. 

These signs can be:

•    your heart beats faster
•    you breathe more quickly
•    you get tense in your shoulders
•    you start to clench your fists

Once you notice any of these signs and feel you are likely to lose control, try to walk away. If you can’t, try calming down by taking a few deep breaths and relaxing as you breathe out. Managing your anger in the long term can be done through:

•    exercise
•    getting enough sleep
•    avoiding drugs and alcohol
•    doing something positive like sport to act as a release
•    talking to family or friends about your feelings

Anger is not an excuse for being abusive towards someone and is never acceptable. If you want to talk to someone in confidence call the Respect phoneline: 0808 802 4040


It takes courage to admit that your behaviour is wrong and unacceptable. The good news is that you can change, as long as you really want to. Contact Respect for advice on how to

Does relationship abuse only happen between boyfriends and girlfriends? Q:

No. Relationship abuse can happen to anyone, including those who are in same sex relationships. If you are a male victim of abuse you can get information and advice from The Men's advice line on 0808 801 0327 (free from landlines and most mobiles) Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm or email Visit for further information. If you are in a same sex relationship and you recognise some of the signs of abuse, contact Broken Rainbow


Is abuse against the law? Q:

Many abusive behaviours in relationships are against the law. For example, if your partner hits you, it’s assault. If they force you to carry out sexual acts or force you into sex, this is sexual abuse or rape. Being threatened or harassed by a partner is just as much a crime as violence from a stranger. If this is happening to you do not confront your partner on your own. Please speak to a trusted adult or the police.

My partner says I am pressuring them to have sex, but I think we're readyQ:

Never rush or push each other into having sex. You may think that all your friends are having sex but the average age for the first time is 16. Even then many people wait until they’re older. Sexual relationships also come with risks, such as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. You should respect your partner for choosing to wait and not giving into peer pressure. Pressuring or forcing someone to have sex, who doesn’t want to, is rape. If you are older than 16 it is illegal to have sex with somebody under the age of 16.

My partner and I do sexting, is that abuse?Q:

If you’re pressurising someone to send you sexually explicit pictures (sexting), this is abusive and not normal. There are consequences – if you pressurise someone to send sexually explicit pictures you could get a reputation as an abuser. If you share the pictures and they go on the internet, this could affect your future education and employment as well as the person who took them. There are also consequences if that explicit image is shared without the victim’s knowledge or agreement. By sending indecent pictures of a person under 18 on to someone else you are breaking the law.


Many of the organisations in the need help section have campaigns which you can support and the White Ribbon campaign specifically works with men wanting to end domestic violence. 

I am not abusive, why should I get involved in challenging abuse?Q:

Even if you are not perpetrating violence it is men's responsibility to speak out about it and to challenge the gender stereotypes which underpin the abuse. If men as well as women are speaking out, other men are more likely to listen.  

There are millions of men around the world actively supporting women by challenging abusive behaviour, and the White Ribbon campaign is the leading organisation of men speaking out about male violence against women and girls. 

You can read more about the campaign and how to get involved by signing the pledge at  

You're not on your own

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