Dating abuse


Have you clicked on this page because you feel anxious or worried about your relationship with your boyfriend? If so, you have taken an important and positive step and we hope we can support you.

If you feel you are in immediate danger, click here.

If not, please read on.

You are not alone in feeling something isn't right with your relationship. Abuse can happen to any woman at any age and in any type of relationship. You don't have to be married or be living with your boyfriend to experience abuse. Women in dating relationships contact Women's Aid every day because they are afraid of their boyfriends.

Your boyfriend does not have the right to control and abuse you. You should not have to worry about how he will react to what you do.

Maybe you feel that you are some how to blame for the abuse. Your boyfriend, and other people, may have told you that it is your fault. But that is not true. Your boyfriend is responsible for the abuse. And he alone can stop it.

It is important to focus on keeping yourself safe. You may find that talking to someone about your situation will help you to sort out what is happening in your relationship and help figure out what next steps you feel comfortable and safe with.

What is dating abuse?

Dating abuse can happen to any woman at anytime and it means that your boyfriend does already/may try to:

  • control what you wear and who you see
  • isolate you from family and friends
  • bombard you with texts, check all of your text messages, email or social networking accounts to keep tabs on you
  • physically attack you including hitting, punching, spitting and throwing you against walls
  • threaten to kill you or himself
  • rape you or force you to do sexual things against you will

You may feel like you are 'walking on eggshells' and living in fear of his moods and temper. Dating abuse is wrong and no one deserves to be threatened, beaten or be in fear for their lives.

10 signs of an abusive relationship

  1. If he complains about your friends or says you spend too much time with them
  2. If he insists on picking your clothes and comments on how you look or dress
  3. If he complains that you spend too much time away from him and insists on your spending all your time with him.
  4. He sends you constant texts checking up on you when you are not with him
  5. He is jealous and suspicious and accuses you of cheating on him all the time
  6. He demands your passwords and checks your emails and social networking accounts to see who you've been talking too.
  7. He has a bad temper and you feel afraid to disagree with him
  8. He hits, kicks or shoves you or threatens to hurt you
  9. He puts pressure on you to do sexual things that have made you feel uncomfortable or has raped you.
  10. You feel afraid to break up with him because he has told you he will hurt you or himself.

You can take a relationship health check quiz on our page.

Women's Aid understands how hard it is to make sense of what is happening to you. It can be difficult to talk about your situation, even to your closest family and friends. You may feel lonely and isolated. Maybe you have been told by your boyfriend that he will hurt you or himself if you tell someone. Perhaps you have told someone and they have told you just to break up, run, to walk away. But we know it is not that easy.

Remember: Trust your instincts - if it feels wrong, it probably is.

How Women's Aid can help

We know how difficult it can be when your boyfriend is abusing you. That is why we offer free, confidential support and information. We will listen to you and talk to you about your situation. We won't judge you or tell you what to do. We won't tell anyone you've been in touch with us. We can discuss your options and help you plan your safety.

What can I do?

Women's Aid 2in2u National Public Awareness Campaign

Women's Aid is currently running a national public awareness campaign addressing the abuse of young women in relationships. Find out more about the 2in2u campaign here.