What’s classed as an abusive relationship?
Relationships don’t have to be violent to be classed as abusive. Any type of behaviour or language that’s used to intimidate, frighten and control someone else can describe an abusive relationship, including emotional, sexual and verbal abuse.
Things that can be classed as abuse in a relationship can include:
- physical violence
- threats of violence against you
- someone controlling who you can see and where you can go
- constant criticism and disapproval of everything you do
Any type of relationship can turn into an abusive one, and it doesn’t matter what age you are. You might be going out with someone who makes you feel small around their friends, or an older relative might be causing you physical harm. These are only a couple of examples of abusive relationships.
If you’re the victim
If you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s important for you to talk to someone you trust like a friend or a relative. Some schools and colleges have on-site advisers that you can talk to, or you may also want to tell a teacher.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many people have been involved in abusive relationships and have managed to get out of them.
It’s also important to remember that you’re not to blame for someone else’s behaviour. You may think you’ve said something or done something wrong to upset them and caused them to become abusive. Whatever you feel you may have done, there is no excuse for constant insults and threats of violence.
Does it just happen to married women?
You can be in an abusive relationship whether you’re male or female, but the majority of cases of violence at home do involve women or children.
But young people who are dating or going out with someone can also be a victim of an abusive relationship.
Worried about a friend?
If you’re concerned that a relative or someone else that you know may be in an abusive relationship, talk to them about it.
Although you may feel that you shouldn’t get involved in someone else’s business, ignoring the problem doesn’t help and can add to the victim’s feeling of being isolated and alone.
To help someone, you can:
- simply be there to listen to them whenever they need someone to speak to
- go with them if they decide to go and see a teacher or a school counsellor
- look on the internet for information and helpline numbers that you think may be useful
- be as supportive and as understanding as possible.
It’s important that you don’t try to confront the person who is being abusive. By doing this you’re putting yourself in danger.