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Home to Darlington Women’s Refuge Supporting Women and Children Fleeing Domestic Abuse Since 1976



Information & Support

Behaviour is “abusive” if it includes any or all of the following...

• physical or sexual abuse
• violent or threatening behaviour
• controlling and coercive behaviour
• economic abuse
• psychological or emotional abuse

It does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

Domestic abuse is far more than bruises and broken bones.

A House Where Someone Is Unsafe Is Not A Home

Types Of Domestic Abuse

  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse – shouting, mocking, accusing, name-calling, verbally threatening
  • Pressure tactics – eg. threatening to self-harm or commit suicide, disconnecting phone and/or internet, threatening to report you to police, social services or mental health team unless you comply with demands, withholding or pressuring you to use drugs or other substances
  • Breaking trust – lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements
  • Threats – making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or gun, threatening to kill or harm you and/or the children, threatening to kill or harm family pets
  • Punching, slapping, hitting, pinching, hair-pulling, shoving, pinning down
  • Strangling, suffocating, throwing items at you
  • Burning, cutting, scratching, spitting
  • Using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts
  • Having sex with you when you don’t want it
  • Forcing you to look at pornographic material
  • Constant pressure and harassment to have sex when you don’t want to
  • Forcing you to have sex with other people
  • Forced pregnancy, forced abortion, depriving of contraception
  • Any degrading treatment related to your sexuality
  • Indecent exposure
  • Borrowing money and not giving it back
  • Stealing money or belongings
  • Taking pension payments or other benefit away from someone
  • Taking money as payment for coming to visit or spending time together
  • Forcing someone to sell their home or assets without consent
  • Tricking someone into bad investments
  • Forcing someone to make changes in wills, property or inheritance
  • Taking out credit cards/loans in your name
  • Following you and continually checking up on you
  • Not allowing you any privacy e.g. opening your mail, going through your phone, tablet or mobile
  • Not allowing you to go anywhere on your own
  • Bullying at school or in the workplace
  • Cyber stalking (using the internet to harass someone)
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Sending abusive text messages
  • Sending unwanted gifts
  • Unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
  • Repeatedly turning up uninvited at your home
  • Checking your internet use, email or other electronic communication
  • Hanging around somewhere they know you often visit
  • Interfering with your property
  • Watching or spying on you
  • Identity theft (signing-up to services in your name)
  • Isolating you from friends and family
  • Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
  • Monitoring your time
  • Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
  • Depriving you access to support services, such as medical services
  • Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
  • Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising you
  • Monitoring social media profiles or emails
  • Abuse over social media such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Sharing intimate photos or videos without your consent known as revenge porn
  • Using GPS locators or spyware
woman looking at paperwork at desk

It is important to remember that everyone disagrees with their partners, family members and others close to them on occasion. 

At times we all do things that we regret but if this begins to form a consistent pattern, then it is an indication of domestic abuse. 

If you are unsure whether you are in an abusive relationship, the following questions may help you.

Am I in an abusive relationship?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it could indicate an abusive relationship.

I think I am in an abusive relationship. Can I get help and support?


whether the abuse is current or historic


whether or not you need refuge accommodation


whether or not you have children


no matter your religion, sexuality, gender, ethnicity and culture

Call our confidential helpline on 01325 364486 or send an enquiry form.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for police assistance.