Healthy Relationships at Home

Healthy relationships are essential for our overall health and well-being. It is important to be aware of signs that our relationships may not be healthy. You may also notice these signs in other people, which may be a cause for concern.

This is especially important as statistics show an increase in domestic violence and coercive behaviour in relationships.

Back of woman with Love Shouldn't Hurt written on it

Coercive behaviour can take place in many different forms and sometimes can be subtle, leading to constraints on a person’s life both in and out of the relationship. It can also lead to a toxic relationship with domestic abuse and the many different forms this may take, including physical, verbal, mental health abuse.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Does your partner, ex-partner or someone you live with:

  • cut you off from family and friends and intentionally isolate you?
  • bully, threaten, or control you?
  • take control of your finances?
  • monitor or limit your use of technology?
  • physically and/or sexually abuse you?

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • threats and intimidation
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn, or being isolated from your family and friends
  • having bruises, burns or bite marks on you
  • having your finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food, medication or pay bills
  • not being allowed to leave your house, or stopped from going to college or work
  • having your internet or social media use monitored, or someone else reading your texts, emails or letters
  • being repeatedly belittled, put down or told you are worthless
  • being pressured into sex or sexual contact
  • being told that abuse is your fault, or that you’re overreacting

Get help and support

If you need help now

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted.

You can also ‘Ask for ANI’ (pronounced ‘Annie’) in pharmacies displaying the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo. They will offer you a safe space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.

Free, confidential support and advice

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse and feel frightened of, or controlled by, a partner, an ex-partner or family member, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault and there is no shame in seeking help.

Free, confidential support and advice is available to victims and their concerned family members or friends, 24 hours a day.

Nation Helpline Contact
England Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
Online live chat
Web form
Northern Ireland Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline 0808 802 1414
Online live chat
Scotland Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline 0800 027 1234
Online live chat
Wales Live Fear Free 0808 80 10 800
Online live chat
UK-wide The Men’s Advice Line run by Respect is a confidential helpline specifically for male victims. 0808 801 0327

Supporting a Survivor

It can be hard to know how to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse. Refuge provide information on how you can help survivors.

Supporting a survivor | Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline (