What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is when people aged 16 years or older are personally connected to each other and their behaviour is abusive.

If you have concerns that a relationship leaves you, or someone you know, feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it's possible that you're in an abusive relationship.

Types of domestic abuse

There are different forms of domestic abuse:

  • Physical abuse - pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, choking and using weapons.
  • Sexual abuse - forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
  • Emotional abuse - repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games.
  • Financial abuse - taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work.
  • Psychological abuse - embarrassing someone in public, threatening to harm someone or people they care about.
  • Controlling and coercive behaviour - this includes "honour-based" violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

A legal definition of domestic abuse is provided in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021

Warning signs of domestic abuse

Feeling uncomfortable or being afraid in your relationship is the number one warning sign that your relationship is not healthy.

Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer 'yes' to one or more of them, you may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Does your abuser:

  • Use physical or sexual violence without warning?
  • Tease you in a hurtful way and play it off as a 'joke' or tell you you're being too sensitive?
  • Call you names such as 'stupid' and 'useless'?
  • Act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers or coerce you into avoiding or not spending time with them?
  • Get angry about or make you change the clothes and shoes you wear, how you style your hair, or whether or not you wear makeup and how much?
  • Check up on you by repeatedly calling, driving by or getting someone else to?
  • Go places with you or send someone just to 'keep an eye on you'?
  • Insist on knowing who you talk with on the phone, check your call log or phone bill?
  • Blame you for their problems or their bad mood?
  • Get angry so easily that you feel like you're walking on eggshells?
  • Do things that scare you?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Accuse you of being interested in someone else or cheating on them?
  • Read your email or check your computer history?
  • Go through your purse or other personal papers?
  • Keep money from you or keep you in debt?
  • Keep you from getting a job, doing a course or learning to drive?
  • Threaten to hurt you, your children, family, friends or pets?
  • Force you to have sex when you don't want to?
  • Force you to have sex in ways that you don't want to?
  • Threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave?
  • Act like "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," acting one way in front of other people and another way when you're alone?

Where to get help and advice for yourself or someone you know

There's a wide range of support in the borough of Rochdale and Greater Manchester for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

Do you need immediate help?

  • Call 999 in an emergency - if you can't talk on the call, try coughing or tapping the phone. If the operator asks you if you're in danger, press 55.
  • If it's not an emergency, call Greater Manchester Police on 101 - the switchboard is open 24 hours a day.

Support for victims and survivors

There is now a single point of access for all domestic abuse services across the borough of Rochdale including:

  • One-to-one support
  • Group-work
  • Safe accommodation. 

If you need support:

More support for victims and survivors