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What is domestic abuse?

Look at what you made me do

First and foremost, domestic abuse is a crime. It involves a pattern of controlling behaviour by a partner or ex-partner to coerce you into doing what they want. Women are the main victims of abuse from male partners, but it can also happen in same-sex partnerships.

As defined by Scottish Women’s Aid and under Scottish law, domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and/or violent behaviour, which may include sexual violence, by a partner or ex-partner. Domestic abuse is overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men, but can also happen in same sex relationships. It doesn’t matter how old someone is, whatever their race or ethnicity or sexual identity, what class, whether or not they are disabled, or if they have children – anyone can be a victim of abuse and controlling behaviour, which can continue even after the relationship has ended. Some commentators go as far as to describe it as a form of “domestic terrorism” because of the fear and suffering it causes in those who experience it.


Border Women’s Aid: 01450 218 409

National Domestic Abuse Helpline (24 hours): 0800 027 1234

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline website has lots of useful information written in seven other languages besides English.


If you believe someone is in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police. If it’s not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted.

You can also use the police text service - text REGISTER to 999. When it’s safe to do so, register your phone, so you can text if you feel in danger.


I thought domestic abuse happened to other people but I realise now that abuse can happen to anyone

I know I am not alone

Hands keeping me safe and comfortable. Helping me to find joy. Thank you so much for the last 14 months

A huge weight lifted off my shoulders when I contacted BWA

You helped me realise I deserved better