Anyone can be a victim of relationship abuse. It can affect men and women in both straight and gay relationships, regardless of culture, religion, age or class. It can also affect your children, even if they're not directly experiencing abuse.
It can go on for a long time and often gets worse over time. It can be life threatening.
Relationship abuse is carried out by partners or ex partners. It can be:
- emotional or psychological – like threats, humiliation, criticism and name-calling (including racial abuse), undermining your self-confidence, controlling what you do or who you speak to, stalking, isolating you from your friends and family, threatening to or distributing intimate images
- physical – like hitting, punching, kicking or burning
- sexual – such as rape or forcing you to engage in sexual acts
- financial – like not letting you work, withholding money
- Forced marriage is also domestic abuse.
Threatening to or distributing intimate images without permission:
This is sometimes called 'revenge porn' or 'the non-consensual sharing of intimate images'.
Intimate images can be shared in a number of ways, for example by text, social media or showing a physical or digital copy to another person.
What are intimate images?
Intimate images can be pictures or videos of you doing something normally done in private. You may have agreed to the pictures being taken, but you didn't agree to them being shared with others.
An intimate image could show:
- you taking part in a sexual act
- your genitals, buttocks or breasts exposed in a private place (for example, at home)
- you wearing only your underwear in a private place (for example, at home)