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At the start of a relationship, we don’t always see the man we might become.

What is abusive behaviour?

Published: 07 December 2022

Abusive behaviour can be physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial.

It can include:

  • threatening your partner
  • calling them names
  • controlling what they do, where they go and who they speak to
  • not allowing them to see their friends and family
  • accusing them of cheating
  • stalking them by continually checking up on them
  • sharing - or threatening to share - intimate images of your partner with their family, friends or work colleagues
  • hitting, kicking, punching, or throwing objects at them
  • rape, forcing your partner into sexual acts they don’t want to do
  • keeping their money from them or demanding their money

Police Scotland’s and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) formal definition of domestic abuse is:

"Any form of physical, verbal, sexual, psychological or financial abuse which might amount to criminal conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship. The relationship will be between partners (married, cohabiting, civil partnership or otherwise) or ex-partners. The abuse may be committed in the home or elsewhere including online".

But we don’t live together and we’re not married?
Domestic abuse is the general term for this type of behaviour but it doesn’t matter if you are boyfriend and girlfriend living separately, living together, married or even ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend. If you are abusive in person, or online, to someone you are, or have been in a relationship with, it will result in your arrest.