What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour that uses power to control a person with whom the abuser has a close relationship. It’s about someone you know trying to control your life. Abuse isn't just physical; it is controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • psychological abuse

  • physical abuse

  • sexual abuse

  • financial abuse

  • emotional abuse

If you feel intimidated by or frightened of someone you have a relationship with, to the point that you feel that you have to change your behaviour, you may be experiencing domestic violence.

The Oasis Power and Control Wheel is based on a wheel created by survivors of violence in Duluth, USA. It, and wheels based on it, are used internationally, and can help people understand the different facets of abuse. 

What is controlling behaviour? 

Controlling behaviour might include making it hard for you to see family or friends, telling you where you can and can’t go, it might involve stopping you from working or taking your money, making you feel down about yourself and calling you names. Controlling behaviour is a range of acts that make you feel like you do not have power.

Controlling behaviour can make you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner or are constantly watching what you say or do in order to avoid a reaction. It can make you isolated and anxious.  


What is coercive behaviour? 

Coercive behaviour is also about control – it means using force or threats to make you do something that you would not normally want to do. Coercive behaviour includes threats, humiliation, intimidation, violence or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten you.


What is Psychological Abuse?

Psychological abuse can also be called emotional abuse or mental abuse. Psychological abuse includes a range of non-physical controlling behaviours that cause emotional damage and undermine a person’s sense of well-being.

Emotional and Psychological abuse can include:

  • Telling someone they are worthless
  • Telling them no one else wants them
  • Undermining a person’s actions, thought and beliefs
  • Telling someone they are weak and could not manage to look after themselves on their own
  • Making someone believe they are mad
  • Telling someone that the domestic violence and abuse is their fault.
  • Threatening violence or abuse to children or pets

This behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Get Help Now

You can find out about the services that are available to victims of domestic abuse here, we also have ways to explore your relationship, and learn about safety planning. Reading the commonly asked questions can give you some more information.