Learn / Believe

Types of Abusive Behaviour: Know the Signs

Threats and intimidation


  • Verbal or written threats to harm or kill you
  • Verbal or written threats to harm or kill your children or other family members, friends, pets
  • Verbal or written threats to kill themselves
  • Verbal or written threats to find you wherever they go after separation
  • Verbal or written threats to have a you ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act
  • Verbal or written threats to report partner to social services or immigration authorities
  • Verbal or written threats to turn others against the partner
  • Verbal or written threats to leave partner
  • Verbal or written threats to ‘out’ partner’s sexuality/gender identity to employers
  • Threats of violence sent via social media


  • Being stalked or watched, or in any way having your movements monitored
  • Receiving letters, emails, messages, or getting phone calls to harass or scare you
  • Having your property damaged
  • Being reminded of previous abuse or violence

Using the children to control and abuse

  • Being harassed via child contact arrangements
  • Having access to your children threatened or taken away
  • Being forced to watch while your children are physically or sexually violated
  • Having lies told to your children in an attempt to damage your relationship with them

Denial, minimalising and blaming

  • Having the abuse partially or totally denied by the abuser
  • Being told by the abuser that the abuse is not a big deal
  • Being told the abuse is justified by the abuser
  • Being told by the abuser that you are imagining the abuse
  • Being blamed for the abuse by the abuser, or having them blame someone else
  • Other people being told that the injuries of your abuse are in fact due to your own clumsiness

Physical Abuse

  • Being attacked with a weapon
  • Being choked or strangled
  • Being burned with cigarettes, iron, oven, fire
  • Being pushed, kicked, bit, pinched, slapped, or hit or punched with hands or objects
  • Being held down or shaken
  • Being tied up
  • Having your belongings or furniture smashed or broken
  • Being deprived of food/warmth/sleep/medication/other aids

Sexual Abuse

  • Rape
  • Being made to engage in sexual behaviour without your consent
  • Being made to engage in sexual behaviours which you do not like
  • Having violence threatened against your children
  • Being forced to have sex with others
  • Being forced into prostitution
  • Being stopped from using contraception by your partner
  • Being forced to have an abortion or alternatively stopped from being able to have one
  • Being made to wear revealing clothes, or made to cover up your body
  • Having affection withheld by your partner
  • Being criticised by your partner for your sexual performance
  • Being accused of having sex with other people

So called ‘honour’ based violence or forced marriage

  • Threatening to kidnap or kidnapping of a child or young person when for example one parent disapproves of the cultural/religious values of the other
  • Using deception to trick someone to travel abroad in order to carry out a forced marriage
  • Dowry theft
  • Organising for a girl or women to have FGM carried out (female genital mutilation)


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