Torbay Safeguarding Children Partnership

Am I in an abusive relationship?

Because of the nature of abusive relationships sometimes victims don’t know that what is happening to them is wrong. If you’re not sure whether your relationship is abusive, please complete this Questionnaire.

Locally you can contact the Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS) or the Police on 101.  If you or your family are in immediate danger, always contact the Police on 999.

Domestic abuse is about control of one person by another by whatever method has most effect.  You might not call it domestic abuse but it can include being kept away from friends and family, having your money or benefits taken off you (economic abuse), emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual and physical abuse and more.  If you are living with domestic abuse you don’t have to report it to the police to be able to get help, but you should think about reporting.  

In Torbay you can ask for help or support in various places including GP surgeries, schools, Children’s Centres, health visitors, Boots pharmacies, via a social worker and by contacting the Torbay Community Helpline.  Find out more about services and what domestic abuse is on Are You OK?   Help and support is different for different people, but whatever ‘help’ looks like for you, please speak to someone. 

Help is also available from Women's Aid, the 24 hour National Domestic Violence helpline and Men's Advice Line.


In the majority of families where there are children and where abuse is taking place, the children will be aware of this, and will often hear it or see it going on. According to the Department of Health, at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence and abuse. In some cases, the children themselves will suffer physical or sexual abuse from the same person.

Children react in different ways to being brought up in a home with a person who abuses others. Age, race, sex, culture, stage of development, and individual personality will all have an effect on a child's responses. Most children, however, will be affected in some way by the controlling behaviour of an abuser, by witnessing arguments, distressing behaviours or assault.

Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on children and their development, no matter what their age.  Children don’t have to directly witness domestic abuse or violence to be affected by it. Many children are often aware of domestic abuse much earlier than parents may realise. 

In what ways do children witness domestic abuse?

Children may:

  • Be physically present during violence or conflict
  • Overhear violence or conflict
  • Witness the outcome of violence (e.g. crying, bruises etc)
  • Think that they have triggered violence
  • Be aware of physical and emotional effects on their parent
  • Get drawn into violence towards their parent

You can find out more about domestic abuse and violence, and the impact it can have on children at the Women's Aid website.

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