What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is a continuous and deliberate pattern of behaviour by an abuser, designed to accomplish power and control. Abuse occurs in diverse ways, such as; coercive control, emotional, financial, physical, sexual and digital. Abusers will try to erode their partner’s voice and self-confidence by restricting her freedom. Perpetrators are entirely responsible for the abusive behaviour; abuse is not ever in any way the survivor’s fault. Don’t underestimate what is happening to you, over time it often gets worse.

  • Coercive-Control

    Coercive Control is a persistent pattern where an abuser intimidates, isolates, degrades another through the use of or threat of physical, emotional, financial, digital and
    sexual abuse. It can be extremely difficult and dangerous for a woman to leave this type of relationship, however the continuing cycle can be detrimental to a woman’s
    physical and emotional well-being.

    Here are just some examples of coercive control:
    • Isolating you from family or friends.
    • Depriving you of basic needs like food, heating.
    • Monitors your online activity.
    • Takes control over aspects of your daily life, such as; what you wear, where you can go.
    • Repeatedly puts you down, humiliates, degrades you.
    • Controls your finances.
    • Threaten to publish your private information online, such as private photos.

    As of 1st January 2019, coercive control is a criminal offence. If you or someone you know is experiencing coercive control you can contact a member of staff at Cuanlee on 021-4277698 for support.


    Emotional abuse is the continual emotional mistreatment from abuser to their partner. It involves deliberating trying to scare, humiliate, isolate and ignore. Emotional abuse can have devastating consequences on someone’s self-esteem, dignity and mental well-being. Just because there is no physical mark or injury, doesn’t mean the abuse isn’t hurtful and destructive.

    • Threaten to hurt you or your children.
    • Threaten suicide if you leave.
    • Excessively jealous and possessive of you.
    • Ignore you or try to isolate you from your family and friend.
    • Regularly humiliate, criticize and belittle you.
    • Blames you for their abusive behaviour.
    • Threatens to hurt or kill you pets.
    • Destroys you belongings.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse you can contact a member of staff at Cuanlee on
    021-4277698 for support.


    In financial abuse, the abuser uses money as a means to gain power and control over their partner. It involves controlling their partner’s ability to acquire, use or maintain financial resources. An abuser may use money that aims to limit and control their partner’s current and future actions as well as their freedom of choice. Financial abuse increases the abusers control over their partner as it restricts their freedom and independence.

    • Your partner stops/makes if difficult for you to go to work.
    • If your partner is the main earner and doesn’t give you (and your children) enough money to meet basic needs.
    • Your partner controls your bank account and sources of income.
    • Your partner uses your money/bank cards without permission.
    • Your partner gambles using family assets.
    • Your partner puts contractual agreements into you’re name
    • You must account for every penny you spend.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing financial abuse you can contact a member of staff at Cuanlee on 021-4277698 for support.


    Physical abuse is perhaps the most recognisable form of abuse. It occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that aims to intimidate, injure or endanger you. Physical abuse does not always result in a visible mark or scar, having your hair pulled, or having something throw at or close to you to intimate are also forms of physical abuse. Other examples include:

    • Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving the situation or forcing you to go somewhere
    • Punched/slapped/kicked/bitten/pushed/stabbed.
    • Beaten with an item, for example; belt, hurley, hammer, etc.
    • Choked or gagged.
    • Being spat or urinated on.
    • Pushed into walls.
    • Banging you head off car dashboards/walls.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse you can contact a member of staff at Cuanlee on 021-4277698 for support.If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, contact the Gardaí on 999.

  • Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse refers to any action that pressures or coerces someone to engage in a sexual act when they don’t want to. It’s important to note that just because the person
    didn’t say “no” or try to resist, does not mean that they have consented to the sexual act. Resisting can place the person in risk or further physical or sexual abuse.
    Whether they felt pressured or obligated, intimidated or intoxicated, sexual abuse is never the survivor’s fault.

    Some examples of sexual abuse include:
    • Unwanted kissing or touching.
    • Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity.
    • Refusing to use condoms.
    • Restricting someone’s access to birth control.
    • Pressuring or forcing someone to have sex or preform sexual acts.
    • Sexual contact with someone who is intoxicated and unable to give clear and informed consent.
    • Rape or attempted rape.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse you can contact a member of staff at Cuanlee on 021-4277698 Alternatively, you can contact the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit on021-4926297/021-4926100 or the Sexual Violence Centre on1800 496 496.

  • Digital Abuse

    Digital abuse occurs when technology is used to bully, harass, stalk, humiliate or intimidate someone. Social networks can be misused as a platform where verbal,
    emotional and sexual abuse can be perpetrated online. It is never okay for someone to make you feel bad on or offline.

    Examples of digital abuse involve:
    • Uses social media to keep tabs on you.
    • Sends you abusive, insulting or threatening messages through email, text, or social media.
    • Controls who you’re friends with online.
    • Uses apps or a device to track your location, such as having spyware installed on your phone, or putting a GPS in your car.
    • Goes through your phone to check who you have been in contact with.
    • Sends you unwanted explicit pictures/videos and demands you send them in return
    • Records or photographs you without your consent.
    • Demands or steals your passwords.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing digital abuse you can contact Cuanlee Refuge on 021-4277698