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How to spot domestic abuse and/or sexual violence

Domestic abuse is the misuse of power and the exercise of control by one person over another within the context of any intimate or close relationship. Such abuse may manifest itself in a variety of ways including:

  • physical violence;
  • emotional or psychological abuse;
  • sexual violence and abuse;
  • financial control and abuse, and;
  • the imposition of social isolation or movement deprivation.

Frequently, domestic abuse includes:

  • threats of violence;
  • threats of suicide, or;
  • threats to take the children from the abused person.

It may also include:

  • breaking objects;
  • hurting pets;
  • abusive language;
  • sexual abuse;
  • driving recklessly to endanger or scare the abused person;
  • isolating family members from others, and;
  • controlling access to money, cars and credit.

What to do if you're being abused or threatened

There are three important steps to take if you are being abused or threatened by your partner, ex-partner or someone else close to you:

  1. Recognise it is happening
  2. Accept you are not to blame
  3. Seek help and support

For help and support...

If you're in immediate danger call the police on 999 now.

Devon Domestic Abuse Support Service


Tel: 0345 155 1074

Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services


Tel: 01392 208756 (Referrals) and 01392 204174 (Support)

24 hour advice lines:

National Women’s Aid – 0808 2000 247

Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327

Samaritans – 116 123

Childline – 0800 1111 

NSPCC – 0808 800 5000

Shelterline – 0808 800 4444

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