Any form of Physical, Verbal, Sexual, Psychological, Emotional or Financial Abuse which might amount to Criminal Conduct and which takes place within the context of a relationship. Coercive Control also falls under Relationship Abuse  - Please see the below video for more information.

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. 

Guidance provided by Domestic Abuse HM Inspectorate. 
Relationship Abuse is overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men.
Men, however, can also be subject to Relationship Abuse.
Rape Crisis Grampian can support you if you feel that you have been subject to/are experiencing Gender Based Violence.
Home - Rape Crisis Grampian (

Women's Aid is there to support you if you have/are experiencing relationship abuse from a current or ex partner.
Home - Women's Aid (

Police Scotland have systems to support victims/survivors of Relationship Abuse.
Domestic abuse - Police Scotland

It doesn’t matter how old someone is, what race or ethnicity they are, what class they are, whether or not they are disabled, or whether they have children – anyone can be a victim of abuse. 

There is a common misconception that domestic abuse is only physical.  This is not the case. 

Controlling and coercive behaviour was criminalised by the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and the legislation came into force on 1st April 2019. It is a course of conduct offence, where ongoing harmful and abusive actions in a relationship, which in isolation might not seem as serious, are examined together – this is about behaviour over time. 

Terms of Reference – Domestic abuse | HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (

Recognising relationship abuse:

It is not a one off – it usually happens again and again and the abusive partner will try different ways to gain control. It usually gets worse over time, and for many women it can continue even after the relationship has ended.

Some of the different ways an abuser will try to control their partner includes:
  • Making threats to hurt their partner or their children
  • Throwing objects at/towards their partner which causes injury and/or fear
  • Calling them names and making their partner feel bad about themselves
  • Making rules within the relationship including who they can see, where they can go and what they are allowed to wear
  • Making it hard/stopping them from seeing their friends and/or family
  • Being jealous of the time they spend with others
  • High levels of phoning/texting and expecting immediate replies 
  • Checking their phone and social media accounts
  • Being physically violent including hitting, punching, pushing, stamping and grabbing
  • Financial restrictions on partner 
  • Putting pressure on them to have sex
  • 'Love Bombing' including excessive high levels of affection for manipulation intent
  • Being verbally abusive towards them 
  • Gas Lighting - Questioning reality, one's sanity and perception due to perpetrator fabricating, denying and lying  
This list is not exhaustive and there are many more examples of relationship abuse. 


Video by Scottish Women's Aid 
Hidden in Plain Sight - Coercive control and Domestic abuse


There are two ways you can tell us what happened