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If You are Being Abusive or Violent

What is domestic violence / abuse?

What could happen to me if I don’t change?

If you want to change your behaviour

Seeking help can be the first step to stopping abuse. If your behaviour fits any of these patterns there is help available in Devon before the situation gets out of hand. Your whole lifestyle, and that of your family and friends, could be in jeopardy if you don’t change your behaviour.

What is domestic violence / abuse?

Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. It occurs across the whole of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability, religion, class, or lifestyle and income. Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’, forced marriage and female genital mutilation are also considered acts of domestic abuse.

Mental and/or Emotional Abuse

Do you criticise the way your partner looks? Domestic abuse often starts off small, with lots of different events that gradually chip away or erode the victim’s confidence. If you are being mentally or emotionally abusive, you might be: using language designed to humiliate, blame intimidate and threaten.

Do you control your victims ability to contact with family and friends? Do you stop or monitor your victim’s phone calls? Do you stalk your victim in person, via phone calls, emails or text messages?

Psychological Abuse

Do you blame your victim for causing the abuse? Lie to your victim? Ignore your victim? Undermine or confuse your victim? Tell your victim that they are losing their mind?

Financial Abuse

Have you built up debt in your victim’s name or refused to pay bills? Are you stealing money from your victim? Do you limit or prevent your victim from having access to money? Do you prevent your victim from working? Have you threatened to report to your victim to the Benefits Agency or other authorities? Are you forcing your victim to earn money for you and/or another person?

Sexual Abuse

You may be asking your victim to do things in return for meeting their basic needs and requirements. Whether in a relationship or not, if someone does not want to have sex, they do not have to. If you are forcing someone against their will, you are being abusive.

Some forms of sexual abuse can include: rape, degrading treatment, sexual name-calling, forcing someone to take part in or look at pornographic images, or forcing someone to have sexual relationships with other people or to prostitute themselves.

Violence/Physical Abuse

You may be directing violence and physical abuse at your victim, or at their family, friends or pets. Are you hitting / punching / kicking / shoving; Strangling; making angry or physical threats; forcing someone to use drugs and / or alcohol; depriving someone of sleep; or hurting a pet?

What could happen to me if I don’t change?

  • Your abuse could escalate
  • Your relationship could break down
  • Your family could break down
  • You could lose the right to see your children
  • You could be evicted from your home
  • If you commit an offence, you could go to prison



The Respect Phoneline is a confidential helpline for domestic violence perpetrators (male, female, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships) to help stop their violence and change their abusive behaviours.

Tel: 0808 802 4040
(Monday – Friday 9am-5pm)

If you are a male victim of domestic violence and abuse the Mens Advice Line can offer support and advice.

Visit or call 0808 801 0327 for more information.