This is Sheila. Sheila has been a victim of domestic abuse but she is also a survivor.

Domestic abuse is the abuse of a person within an intimate or family relationship.  

Domestic abuse is a crime caused by the abusers desire for control and power. 

It isn't just physical; it can be psychological, sexual, emotional or even financial and can include:

  • Being forced or pressured to do things
  • Being frightened to say 'no'
  • Being frightened to say what you think
  • Feeling that you are 'walking on eggshells' all the time
  • Being watched and checked up on
  • Having your freedom unreasonably restricted
  • Being stopped from seeing your family and friends
  • Being made to feel small
  • Forced marriage
  • Violence, including ‘honour-based’ violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Threats to you, your family, your pets or your possession
  • Being made to feel too tired, too depressed, and too frightened to fight back or leave
  • Destructive criticism
  • Disrespect and breaking trust
  • Isolation
  • Harassment

Anyone can be abused, no matter where they live or how much money they have.

It can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, class, gender, religion or sexuality. It happens in all kinds of relationships: heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

For both male and female victims of abuse, the message is the same:

  • Domestic abuse isn’t just physical
  • It is not your fault
  • Help is available

There are many ways you can report domestic abuse - whether you’re a victim or a friend or relative of someone who is experiencing an abusive situation: