What is domestic abuse?

If you're experiencing domestic abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member, you can get free and confidential help right now.

Domestic abuse is an incident, or pattern of incidents, that can be both physical and emotional. It can occur in any type of relationship and anyone can be a victim, regardless of their gender or age.

There are many forms of domestic abuse and your experiences may greatly differ to someone else’s.

Are you experiencing domestic abuse?

During the course of your relationship, have you experienced any of the following?

Controlling and coercive behaviour

  • Isolated away from friends and family
  • Stopped from going to work or college
  • Accused of flirting or having an affair
  • Told what to wear, who you can see or what you should think
  • Restricted in accessing and spending your own money

Emotional abuse

  • Belittled and put down
  • Blamed for abuse and arguments
  • Made to feel like you can’t leave.

Threats and intimidation

  • Received threats to hurt or kill you or your family
  • Had belongings destroyed
  • Had your personal space invaded
  • Had your emails, texts or letters read or checked.

Physical abuse

  • Slapped, hit, punched, pushed or shoved
  • Bitten, kicked or burnt
  • Chocked or held down
  • Hit by an object thrown at you.

Sexual abuse

  • Pressured to have sex
  • Touched in a way you didn’t want to be touched
  • Made to do sexual acts against your will
  • Hurt during sex
  • Pressured to have unsafe sex e.g. without a condom.

If you have experienced one or more of the incidents above, this suggests that you're in an abusive relationship.

How can I get help?

If you think that you are in an abusive relationship, you can get help and support from a number of local and national organisations.

Domestic abuse helplines and support
OrganisationContact details

Police (if you're in immediate danger)


Police (non-emergency)


Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse helpline (external link) - Support, advice and counselling for those affected by domestic abuse and anyone concerned about the wellbeing of others

01942 311365, Mon to Fri, 7am to 7pm


Greater Manchester victim support (external link) - Greater Manchester and Wigan

0300 303 0162, Mon to Fri 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-5pm

National Domestic Abuse (DA) Helpline (Refuge) (external link) - A national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf

0808 200 0247
(24 hour helpline)

Contact National DA online

Mankind (external link) - Confidential support and advice for male victims of domestic abuse, as well as their friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues

01823 334244, Mon to Fri 10am-4pm

(LGBT) Galop (external link) - Advice, support and referral services for LGBT people experiencing homophobic, transphobic and same sex violence

0800 999 5428, Mon to Fri 10am-5pm, Wed to Thurs 10am-8pm


RESPECT (external link) - Help for those using abuse or violence in their relationship

0808 8024040, Mon to Fri 9am-8pm, info@respectphoneline.org.uk

© Wigan Council