Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, background or socio-economic status.

There are different types of abuse and it is not always physical.

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Emotional abuse

Is sometimes called psychological abuse and involves the emotional mistreatment of a person. Examples of this are humiliation and constant criticism, threatening, shouting, name calling, making a person feel small and manipulation. 

Physical abuse

Involves deliberately hurting or injuring a person. for example, by hitting, punching, biting, throwing things, pulling hair and holding a person down.

Sexual abuse

Sexual behaviour or a sexual act that is forced upon a person without their consent or by taking advantage of the person.

Financial abuse

Is also known as economic abuse and includes controlling a person’s money and finances, taking out loans or credit cards in their name without consent, stopping them from working or keeping the money they earn.

Coercive control

An abuser may not be physically violent, but use threats of violence, intimidation and manipulation to make a person feel controlled, fearful, exploited and isolated from support.

Domestic abuse also includes female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

How to get help

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse, there is support and help available.

For confidential support or information, call the Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse Service (GDVA) helpline on 020 8317 8273 or email

If you would like to speak to someone in person for practical and emotional support and advice, visit the Her Centre domestic abuse drop-in service. The drop-in is held every Friday from 10am to 12pm at YMCA, Woolwich Church Street, SE18 5PQ.

In an emergency always call 999.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone - regardless of your gender. If you are a man and are experiencing domestic abuse, help is out there.

Contact ManKind, the confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse, by calling 01823 33424 (weekdays, 10am to 4pm).