For Young People

Recognising Domestic Abuse

Sometimes recognising domestic abuse can be difficult as often people assume that there has to be violence involved in order for it to be abuse. However, that is not always the case.

Domestic abuse can be between any two people in a relationship or between a parent and child. It can also happen to any age, gender or sexual orientation and the abuser can also be any of these too. Domestic abuse can be between people who have known each other for 6 weeks or been married for 60 years, there is no specific type of person that can be affected. The abuse also does not necessarily have to be violent but could be emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse, for example.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are unsure if you are in an abusive situation:

  • Do they ever criticise your body or the way you look?
  • Do they tell you what to wear, where to go or who you can talk to?
  • Do they ever make you feel guilty for seeing your friends and family?
  • Do they ever go through your phone to see who you’ve been talking to?
  • Have they ever physically hurt you (or threatened to hurt you) such as: hit, pushed, slapped or punched?
  • Have they ever forced or pressured you to have sex or do sexual things with them?

To help further understand the different forms that abuse can have you can look to the power and control wheel below:

Getting Help

You can call us Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm on 01294 602424. However, if you would like to speak to someone out with our office hours then you can call the 24hr national helpline on 0800 027 1234. If you are looking for some more information or advice then you can check out our children and young people section on our useful links page here.

Getting help is often a difficult thing to do as you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable but this is perfectly normal. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone.

Our workers will listen to you in complete confidence and will not judge you. They are there to help you process what you may have experienced and will aid you in figuring out what the next steps are. Your safety is our top priority so conversations will remain private unless we are concerned that you are at risk of harm.

Worried for a Friend?

It can be extremely difficult to see a friend is suffering or needs help and often you can feel helpless and unsure what to do. If you are concerned that a friend may be experiencing domestic abuse then there are a number of things that you can do to help them.

  • Don’t Gossip – Talk in private and don’t tell other people without your friend’s permission. Tell a trusted adult if you think your friend might be in danger.
  • Believe the Story – Listen and believe your friend. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know they are not alone.
  • Tell the Person They Didn’t Deserve It – No one deserves to be abused. Your friend did not cause this abuse and it is NOT their fault.
  • Let Them Make Their Own Decision – Respect your friend’s right to make their own decision when they are ready to do so.
  • Make a Safety Plan – Does your friend have a safe place to escape to if necessary? Have they done something in the past to keep them safe from the abuse? Did it work?
  • Give Help – Find out the resources in your community. Is there a hotline to call? What legal, medical or counselling options are available?

More Information

To learn more about domestic abuse you can head over to “Love Respect” – a website created by Women’s Aid for young people. You can visit the site here:

North Ayrshire Women’s Aid also produced a short film called “Expect Respect.” The film centres on coercive control in young people’s relationships and aims to better explain what domestic abuse can look like and what some of the warning signs are. You can watch it below.

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