Domestic abuse and young people

Domestic abuse is when a person hurts, controls, threatens or bullies another person who is or was their partner or who is a member of their family. The abuse doesn’t always end when the relationship ends. As a young person you might see or hear abuse in your household, you might be hurt either physically or emotionally as part of the abuse between adults, and you might experience abuse from your own boyfriend or girlfriend or other family member.


If you are in danger now, call 999 straight away.

Domestic abuse can be:

Emotional and psychological

Some examples of emotional and psychological abuse are listed here - this is not an exhaustive list and there are many more forms of this type of abuse:
  • Manipulating you to do what they want 
  • Constantly checking where you are 
  • Preventing you from seeing your friends or family or suggesting that you are better off without your friends or family 'interfering' 
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Persistently calling you names, mocking behaviour or saying things that make you feel bad
  • Using the children to bully you or blackmail you to stay in the relationship 
  • Shouting and intimidating behaviour 
  • Stalking 
  • Harassment

Isolating you from friends and family

If your partner or family member isolates you from the people you love, telling you that you cannot see other friends or family for whatever reason, this is another form of control. They might listen in to your calls or not let you visit friends and family and refuse to let them visit your home. They will often come up with reasons why such as “they aren’t good for you” or “we don’t need anyone else”. They might lie about friends telling you that they are talking about you behind your back so that you fall out with them. This isolates you from people that could help you and makes you easier to control.

Depriving you of basic needs

A partner could deprive you of certain foods or clothes, they can even stop you accessing medical help, but this is all illegal. This type of abuse is often used against people who need support in their daily living activities due to disability or ill health. It can start off as seeming to be caring, but can end up with them withholding things you need such as medication or help with personal care.


This is a subtle form of manipulation. It is done over time, sometimes months or years. It can lead you to doubt yourself, your memories or your state of mind. It can include small things like telling you what they want for dinner and then later saying they said something else, and they will tell you that you must have forgotten. This is a form of control.


If a partner/ex-partner or family member threatens you so that they have power over you, this is illegal. Common threats include reporting you to social services with the myth that your children will be removed from you, or threatening to ‘out’ a same sex partner to work colleagues and family when they want this information kept private.


Some examples of physical abuse are listed here - this is not an exhaustive list and there are many more forms of this type of abuse:
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Pushing 
  • Strangling or smothering you 
  • Threatening to hurt you or someone you care about 
  • Not allowing you to take medication or giving you too much 
  • Using weapons against you

Financial and Economic

Some abusers insist on controlling all the money in the relationship, even the victim’s own wages or benefits – this is economic abuse.  Economic abuse also includes making you give up your job or stopping you from getting a job.  Sometimes the abuser will provide an ‘allowance’ to purchase food or items for children but this is deliberately not enough and they might then punish the victim for not being able to keep within the budget.

This is sometimes done whilst spending money on themselves. Some abusers will pressure someone to take out a loan but the money must be handed to the abuser.  They might also take out credit cards in the victim’s name without their knowledge.

Damaging your property

This includes when the abuser breaks your items such as your phone, household items or your car. Not only can this be part of coercive control, but it is also a crime of criminal damage.


Sexual abuse is when someone makes you do or watch anything of a sexual nature that you don't want to. It can include:
  • Rape 
  • Making you watch pornography if you don't want to 
  • Making sexual comments to you that make you feel uncomfortable 
  • Sexual assault
  • Sharing or threatening to share explicit images

    New laws surrounding ‘revenge porn’ make it against the law for someone to share intimate photographs of you with anyone, whether that is on or offline. It is also awful to threaten to share images. If this is happening to you please report it to the Police.

Extremely jealous behaviour

If your partner is being ‘extremely’ jealous including possessiveness this is now illegal, under legislation introduced in 2018 and is called coercive and controlling behaviour.  It could include your partner/ex-partner constantly wanting to know where you are and who you are with.  It could involve them asking people to spy on you and report back to them.  It could include stalking.  If this is happening to you please report it to the Police and get support from the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Hub.

These are just some of the types of domestic abuse but it is not a complete list.  Domestic abuse is often a pattern of behaviour and can include more than one type of behaviour.  It might get worse over time and it might be a roller-coaster at times, sometimes wonderful and sometimes awful.  People often use the types of behaviour listed above to control and/or manipulate you. In an unhealthy or abusive relationship you can often feel as though you are walking on eggshells.  If you are worried about what will happen to you if you say or do the ‘wrong’ thing then it is a sign that you might be in an unhealthy relationship. A healthy relationship should be respectful and supportive, not domineering and undermining. 

Is your relationship healthy?  Check the signs.

If someone is being abusive towards you, it is not your fault and there is help and support available.

If you are under 16 years of age and worried about domestic abuse you can:

Call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or call the NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000.  You can also text the NSPCC on 88858.

Call Doncaster Children’s Services Trust on 01302 734100 between 8:30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours call the Trust on 01302 796000.

You can also get information and support about a wide range of issues affecting young people on the Kooth website.  Home - Kooth

Tell an adult you trust, such as a teacher, and keep telling people until you get the help you need.

Remember, abuse is never your fault, and you have the right to be safe.

If you are 16 years old or over you can also get help from the Doncaster domestic abuse hub by calling 01302 737080.  The helpline is open Monday - Friday 9am-4.30pm.

For more information go to The Hideout website:

The Disrespect Nobody website is another great source of guidance on relationship abuse and tells you which organisations you can contact for help.

 If you suspect your own behaviour is abusive call the Respect Helpline on 0808 8024040.

Return to the Domestic Abuse homepage

Last updated: 29 March 2022 12:20:28