How would you know if a relationship is abusive?
- In healthy relationships, each partner is equal and people treat each other with respect. No one person tries to control the other.
- Each person feels safe and able to be themselves.
- Each person takes responsibility for their behaviour.
- People listen to and respect each other's opinions, even if they don't always agree.
- People trust and support each other.
- People value the other person and want them to be happy in whatever ways they choose.
- People are open, honest and sincere with each other and do not try to manipulate their partner with threats, lies or blame.
- People talk about their feelings and deal any issues openly and co-operatively.
- People accept that their goals, interests and priorities may sometimes be different.
- They can agree to differ or reach a compromise or agreement acceptable to both.
In abusive relationships, one person tries to be in control and to hold power over the other person. This might include:
- Using violence, intimidation or threats.
- Using gestures, facial expressions or words to frighten or put down.
- Shouting, name calling, criticism or blaming.
- Forcing the other person to have sex or do things they do not want to do.
- Controlling who the person sees, talks to or spends time with.
- Controlling money or if the person works.
Don't all families fight sometimes?
Yes, many families can have fights or arguments from time to time or people may not always agree. The difference in domestic abuse is that one person always tries to dominate or control the other and uses violence or abuse to get their way. This becomes a pattern and often the violence or intimidation gets worse over time.
When my Dad gets drunk, he picks fights with my Mother and sometimes he hits her. Is that domestic abuse?
Sometimes people blame alcohol or drugs for their behaviour and in some cases people behave differently when they are drunk. No one has the right to hit another person and being drunk does not cause it or excuse it. People are responsible for their behaviour and cannot use drink or drugs as an excuse to hurt or abuse another person.