Domestic abuse is much more common than we think

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Research tells us that 1 in 5 women in Scotland will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic abuse also affects men.

No one who has been abused should feel that they are to blame for any reason.The person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is one form of domestic abuse. It is also known as psychological or mental abuse.

It can include:

• putting you down

• making you feel bad about yourself

• calling you names

• making you think you’re crazy

• making you feel guilty

• blaming things that are going wrong or blaming you for the abuse

• embarrassing you

• using your past against you

• humiliating you

• not speaking to you

• avoiding you

• interfering with your phone or computer use, checking your mobile phone or Facebook

• stopping you seeing your friends or family

Other forms of abuse include:

Physical abuse: any form of harm to your body

Sexual abuse: demanding sex, refusing to – or not allowing you to – use contraception, making you engage in sexual acts you are not comfortable with, including sex against your will (rape)

Emotional abuse is part of a wider pattern of behaviour put in place by one partner to control the other. As a result, the abused person loses their freedom.

The wider range of abusive behaviour can include:

Emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse (as described above)

Intimidation: making you feel afraid by using looks, gestures, destroying property, abusing pets, yelling at you

Cutting your social links: checking on who you are friends with, who you talk to on the phone or online, stopping you from going out or preventing people from visiting you, isolating you

Denying the abuse: making light of it, saying it didn’t happen, making up a funny story from an episode of abuse. They may say it is your fault because your behaviour causes them to behave this way.

Using financial abuse: preventing you from taking or keeping a job, forcing you to take a job and taking your money. Not allowing you to have a bank account, money or credit cards.

Using threats: threatening to call social work, threatening to leave you or kill you or kill themselves, threatening to harm your family or friends if you don’t do what you are told

Using children: making you think you’re a bad parent, threatening to take your children away, making it difficult for you to spend time with your children or not letting you see them.

Some of this behaviour on its own may not seem serious, but when it keeps happening, it can wear the abused person out, damage their self esteem, and make it hard for them to feel good about themselves or their life. The person living with abuse may feel that they have no control over their life or over part of their life because they have to live according to the abuser’s rules.

If you are experiencing abuse or know someone who is, there are a number of local and national organisations that are willing to help and that will believe you:



(Please ask for the Domestic Abuse Unit) 101

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers Scotland 0800 555 111 (to report crime anonymously including domestic abuse) www.crimestoppersscotland-uk.org/

Women’s Aid

Dumfriesshire and Stewartry 01387 263 052  -  07710 152 772 (24hr)

Wigtownshire 01776 703 104 (24hr)

South West Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre

01387 253 113 (9am to 9pm)

01776 889 331 (9am to 9pm)

Social Work Services

Please ask for the Duty Social Worker 030 33 33 3000

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

0800 027 1234 (24hr)

Rape Crisis Scotland National Helpline

Freephone 0808 801 0302 6pm – midnight

LGBT Scotland Domestic Abuse Project


Broken Rainbow

A UK wide helpline for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse 0300 999 5428

Mondays & Thursdays 2pm – 8pm

Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10am – 5pm

Trans session Tuesday 1 – 5pm

Men’s Advice Line

For men experiencing domestic abuse 0808 801 0327 (free from landlines and most mobiles)

Monday to Friday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm

Respect Phoneline

For those worried about their abusive behaviour

0808 802 4040 (free from landlines and most mobiles)

Monday to Friday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm

A telephone translation service is available from each of the agencies listed here. If you have difficulties with English you will be put on hold whilst you are connected to an interpreter.

The help described here is available to you regardless of your age, nationality, disability, race, gender, religion and belief or sexuality, and whether or not you are married or have children.