What is domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse takes many different forms and affects people from all backgrounds, in all kinds of relationships. It can be physical or sexual, and can include emotionally abusive behaviour too. It doesn’t always come from a partner or an ex-partner – sometimes people experience abuse from a family member, carer or other person.

Domestic abuse can mean physical violence, but can also involve coercive and controlling behaviour, taking control financially, isolating people from their family and friends, or making threats towards children, pets or others. Some people may not understand they are being abused, or realise that what they are experiencing is domestic abuse. They might not want to tell anyone for fear of not being believed, or feel ashamed of what is happening to them, or that it is somehow their fault.

Domestic abuse does not discriminate. It is a common, everyday occurrence for people in all walks of life. If you think you might be one of them, know that you are not on your own – and that life can be different.

Who Can It Happen To?

Domestic abuse most commonly affects women and girls, but it also happens to men and boys too. It can occur in heterosexual and same sex relationships, and in non-sexual relationships between family members and other people too.

We realise most people will be experiencing abuse in a way that is unique to them and their individual situation, and that not everyone in society will be treated in the same way, or have equal opportunities in accessing support. Vale DAS is here to listen, understand and support you with whatever you may be experiencing, in a way that is appropriate for you.

Vale DAS believes that Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence and all violence against women and girls is not inevitable, and is a result of gender inequality in society. We also know men experience domestic abuse too, and have barriers to disclosing and accessing support because of gender inequality in society.

What types of domestic abuse are there?



is a tactic that abusers may use in the early stages of relationship to make you feel overwhelmed with attention and affection.


is a tactic that abusers use to give you a small amount of attention or affection to keep you hooked or maintain control over the relationship.


is a tactic that abusers may use to make you doubt your own perception of reality.


is a tactic used to create fear and control their partners. This can be physical but can also be verbal or unspoken threats. It is about creating a rule within a relationship where there is a severe consequence if broken.


a term used when an abuser tries to “suck” you back into the relationship after you have left or are trying to leave. This may include reverting to “love bombing” or other manipulation tactics to try and make you stay.


is a tactic used to limit your access to resources and support.


is when an abuser suddenly stops communicating with you as a way to manipulate or control you.

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