Relationships Really Matter: 7. Is this the same as Domestic Abuse?


Parental Conflict and Domestic Abuse are two separate things.  The information on Relationships Really Matter is about managing everyday disagreements in a more positive and healthy way.

In this section you can find information about what is Domestic Abuse, there is the government definition, some effects  for children and where you can get support if you think you are in a Domestic abusive relationship.

What is domestic violence and abuse?

The Government definition is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical 
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

This also includes controlling behaviour and coercive behaviour.

The following animation tells you more about controlling behaviour and coercive behaviour.

Controlling behaviour - that’s a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, such as their friends and family, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”

Domestic Abuse Services have said “Gaslighting” is on the rise.

What is Gaslighting?

It’s a form of emotional abuse. It’s manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, feelings, friendships and question their own sanity.

Signs of Gaslighting:

  • no longer feeling like the person you used to be.
  • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be.
  • often wondering if you're being too sensitive.
  • feeling like everything you do is wrong.
  • always thinking it's your fault when things go wrong.
  • apologising often.


These quotes from women and children who have survived Domestic Abuse are taken from the book “Freedom Flowers” by Pat Craven, author of The Freedom Programme, which is offered in Nottinghamshire.

They really help explain what it’s like to live with Domestic Abuse.

Bluebell's Story

Speech bubble 7_1

My dad kicked my mum in the stomach and assaulted her in many ways, and I was born with a hole in my heart, and it made me very weak and small, as a child I missed a lot of school as I was always in hospital. I was always the smallest and weakest throughout my childhood and got bullied for being like that. Then, as an adult, I fell for abusers, so maybe I can say thanks to my dad for that sort of life

Daffodil's Story

Speech bubble 7_2

I would wake up hearing my son scream and cry, and when I opened the bedroom to get him (we lived in a bungalow), my ex would suddenly appear from a different room as fast as lightning and not allow me to get into my son’s room, or he would be in there and at the bedroom door blocking my way...

Becky's Story

Speech bubble 7_3

On Saturday, daddy pulled mummy’s hair and pushed her to the floor. When she tried to get up, daddy hit her with the chair. Mum he was worried because my little sister was in the bath and she might drown. Dad he told mummy to stay on the floor until he told her to get up. On Sunday, I watched CBeebies with my fingers in my ears because I didn’t want to hear the shouting.

Rose's son Story

Speech bubble 7_4

I have been expelled from school because when I do not get my own way I kick off like dad does at home. I am afraid of other teenagers and people I do not know, I do not know who to trust. Everything must always be perfect, I want to please dad. I have no self-esteem, I do not like myself. I have little social skills, I find it difficult to interact with other people. I am three years behind in my schoolwork because I miss so much school.

Where can I get help locally?

Emergency Contact Numbers:  999
If you’re in immediate danger, please call the Police on 999.
The Silent Solution: In an emergency situation where you cannot speak, call 999, wait for the operator to speak and dial 55. This will alert the operator to your situation.
For non-emergency calls to the Police, please use 101

24hr Domestic Abuse Freephone Helpline: 0808 800 0340

Images shows logo Notts women's aid

Notts Women's Aid logoNotts Women’s Aid
For women and children in Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood and Mansfield
Phone: 01909 491330
Fax:  01909 533617



Images shows logo juno women's aid

Juno Women's Aid LogoJuno Women's Aid (formerly WAIS)   Nottingham & Nottinghamshire
For women and children in Ashfield, Broxtowe, Gedling, Rushcliffe and Nottingham City
Phone: 24-hour helpline 0808 800 0340
Helpline for agencies: 0115 947 6490


Images shows logo broxtowe women's project

Broxtowe Women's Project LogoBroxtowe Women's Project
Phone: 01773 719111 – domestic abuse helpline
07914 634 190 – text phone
01773 718555 – general enquiries


Images shows logo NIDAS

NIDAS LogoNottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Services
For Women and Children in Mansfield and Ashfield
Phone: 01623 683250


Images shows logo equation

Equation LogoEquation
For Men Aged 18 and over in Nottinghamshire and aged 16 and over in Nottingham City
Phone:0115 960 5556  - Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.30pm  
A 24/7 confidential answerphone service is available outside these times



Related Links

  1. Relationships Really Matter:
  2. Relationships Really Matter: 1. What's This All About?
  3. Relationships Really Matter: 2. Things to Do
  4. Relationships Really Matter: 3. How To Parent Together When Separating and Apart
  5. Relationships Really Matter: 4. Useful Video Clips
  6. Relationships Really Matter: 5. What Help Can I Get Locally?
  7. Relationships Really Matter: 6. More Information and Support
  8. Relationships Really Matter: 8. Information For Practitioners

Page last reviewed: 19/12/2023

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