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Domestic violence is rarely a one-off event. It might occur frequently or infrequently, but there’s often a pattern of behaviour in abusive relationships. It may be physical, but it can also be emotional, sexual, financial or mental.

If you feel you may be experiencing any of the abusive behaviours in your relationship and you believe you may be a victim of domestic violence, click here for more information.

The different types of abusive behaviour in relationships

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If you’re hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, using a weapon against your partner, putting your hands around their throat, strangling, choking or causing them any other kind of physical harm, you’re being physically abusive.

Calling your partner names, texting or emailing them abusive messages, putting them down, shouting or swearing, damaging things, throwing things, controlling who they see, accusing them of things or demanding that they change their clothes or looks is psychologically or emotionally abusive.

Gaslighting is another form of psychological abuse where you’ll discredit your partner’s memory, perception and sanity through lies, denial, contradiction, false information and manipulation.

Manipulating and controlling your partner – either through intimidation, threats, humiliation or isolating them from their support networks – is coercive control.

You’re sexually abusive if you’re pressuring someone to have sex, touching them against their will, sulking or punishing them for not wanting sex, forcing them to watch porn, degrading them or pressuring them to have unprotected sex. Sexual abuse can happen in or outside of relationships or marriage.

If you’re financially abusive you might be keeping a strict account of how your partner is spending, keeping them short of money, refusing to sign paperwork, using their credit cards without permission, building up debts or bullying them into purchases.

If you’ve separated and you’re making unwelcome contact, checking up on your ex’s movements or pressuring them to take you back, you’re abusing them.

Take a moment to think about how you would feel if you were suffering abuse.

No matter how angry you feel, it is never okay to scare or harm your partner.

If you choose to, you can change and we are here to help you.

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