Do you sometimes feel frightened, intimidated or controlled by your partner? Or do you constantly have to watch your behaviour in case they get angry?
If so you're probably being abused.
Controlling, abusive or violent behaviour is never OK in a relationship. You should feel safe, loved and free to be yourself.
Being hurt emotionally or physically can make you feel bad about yourself. It can also make you feel anxious, depressed or ill.
If it's happening to you, it's important to ask for help.
Talk to a person you trust like a parent or someone else in your family, or a friend. Don't hold it in.
What is abuse in a relationship?
Relationship abuse can happen to young men or women, but it's most likely to happen to girls and young women.
It's more likely to happen to young people in same-sex relationships too.
Abuse can be physical violence like hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping or pressuring you into sex.
But there are also other kinds of abuse.
It's abuse when your partner:
- says things that make you feel small
- reads your messages and texts without your permission
- tells you what to wear
- is jealous and possessive
- won't let you see friends
- checks up on you all the time to find out where you are and who you're with
Behaviour like this doesn't mean your partner cares. It's about them controlling you and having power over you.
It's not normal and it's not "just the way things are". It's a serious issue.
It's also a warning. Some people who behave like this become physically violent later on.
Remember, it's not your fault, even if your partner blames you for their behaviour.
And just because you're young doesn't mean it's not abuse.
Getting help for abuse
It can be difficult to find the right words to ask for help.
Try asking someone whether you can talk to them about something. Tell them you need some help. There are things happening that you aren't happy about and you don't know what to do.
You could talk to:
- a favourite teacher or mentor at school
- your mum, dad or another adult your trust – perhaps a friend's mum
- a helpline like ChildLine (for under-19s) on Freephone 0800 1111 or the 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on Freephone 0808 2000 247 (this is for teenagers and young people as well)
- a GP or nurse
- a friend
If you're in danger right now, call 999. The police are there to help you stay safe.
If you think a friend is being abused
If you think a friend is in an abusive relationship, talk to them. Keep calm and try not to judge.
Tell them you're worried about them and ask if everything is OK. Listen to them and let them know that you're there for them.
If they've been hurt, offer to go to the doctor with them.
Perhaps have a helpline number ready to give them, such as:
- ChildLine: 0800 1111
- Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Your friend might be angry or upset with you to begin with. But they will know you care and it will encourage them to get help.
If you're abusing someone
If you're abusing your partner or you're worried that you might, you can call:
- ChildLine on 0800 1111
- Respect, a charity for people hurting their partners, on 0808 802 4040
Realising your behaviour is wrong is the first step. But you may need help to stop.