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Am I being abused?

Recognising abuse

Recognising that you are in an abusive relationship is not always easy. Some abusive behaviours are subtle and may happen gradually so you do not notice them at first.

Ask yourself the following questions

  • Are you afraid of your partner?
  • Do you feel bullied or belittled by your partner?
  • Do you avoid family and friends because of your partner?
  • Do you feel as if you are walking on egg shells at home?
  • Do you change your behaviour to avoid triggering an incident?
  • Does your partner have sudden changes of mood which dominate the house?
  • Is your partner charming one minute and abusive the next?
  • Are you afraid of making your own decisions?

If you answer yes to one or more of these then you may be suffering domestic abuse. Some abusive behaviours are subtle and may happen gradually so you do not notice them at first. You can contact a local domestic abuse service for help and support or read more under our about domestic abuse page.

If you are suffering domestic abuse it is important to remember that you are not to blame.

How can I keep myself and my children safe?

Report it

Domestic abuse is a crime that is often hidden. You do not have to put up with it. You can report domestic abuse to Thames Valley Police.

  • If you feel threatened, are in immediate danger, or it’s an emergency, call 999.
  • In a non-emergency, call 101, the Thames Valley Police 24-hour non-emergency number. Ask for your local Domestic Abuse Unit.

The role of the police in domestic abuse cases is to:

  • Protect the lives of both adults and children who are at risk as a result of domestic abuse.
  • Adopt a proactive approach to prevent and reduce domestic abuse.
  • Effectively investigate all reports of domestic abuse.
  • Facilitate effective action against offenders so that they can be held accountable through the Criminal Justice system.

Thames Valley Police’s response to domestic abuse reports:

  • All domestic abuse incidents will be attended by a police officer.
  • All domestic abuse incidents are graded as ‘urgent’ as a minimum. This means that police officers aim to respond within at least one hour unless circumstances require a more immediate response.
  • Officers must positively intervene when called to all domestic abuse incidents. If they don't make an arrest, they must be able to justify why. This has led to a significant increase in the number of people arrested for domestic abuse-related offences. Officers are also encouraged to get as much evidence from the incident as possible.

For more information visit the Thames Valley Police’s response to domestic abuse. For Thames Valley Police's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), also available in other languages, please click here.

Escape Plan

Pack a bag with:

  • Emergency money
  • Passport
  • Spare phone with important numbers already saved on it
  • Essential toiletries

If you are in an abusive relationship, you may not feel ready to leave. If this is the case, you must try to keep yourself and your children safe. You can plan for leaving so that you are prepared. Leaving is often the most dangerous time.

Read the following advice around safety planning.

Domestic abuse accounts for 10% of emergency calls

Domestic abuse has consistently accounted for between 16% and one quarter of all recorded violent crime