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This is abuse - can you see it?

Is having your partner check your phone and tell you who you can and can't see abuse?

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Did you know?

  • Relationship abuse can happen to anyone, including those who are in same sex relationships.
  • It’s not just girls who are abused, 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse.
  • If you’ve been forced by your boyfriend to have sex against your will (or suffered any form of sexual abuse) then this is rape (it doesn’t matter that you are going out with each other) and you need to tell a trusted adult.

Ask Ed

I think my friend is being abused by their partner – what should I do?

If you think your friend could be in an abusive relationship, don’t ignore it, you need to talk to them about it and encourage them to get help. Approach the subject in a sensitive way, such as saying ‘I am worried about you because….’ and try not to make them feel like they’re being judged. Let them know that the abuse is not their fault, that it is unacceptable and that support is available.

If your friend wants to speak to someone in confidence encourage them to contact these helplines:

Girls – National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
Boys – Respect 0808 801 0327 Childline 0800 11 11

What do I do if my girlfriend is the one who’s being violent?

Boys can suffer abuse too and at the hands of their girlfriends (and this may include being pressured into sexual activities you don’t want). Although it may be especially hard for you to tell someone, you must remember it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Talking about what’s happening is really important and you can get help if your partner is violent, controlling or sexually abusive. Try talking to a trusted adult.

Some boys say they would feel less manly if someone knew that they were being abused by a girl and that they would feel ashamed. But if this is happening to you, there is nothing to be ashamed of and talking about what’s happening is really important. Try talking to a trusted adult. If you don’t think you can do this, you can speak in confidence by calling the helpline for males experiencing domestic abuse.

Call freephone 0808 801 0327, email or visit

My partner often humiliates me in front of their friends, is this normal?

No, it’s not normal and it’s not acceptable. It can be really hurtful when the person you care about teases, bullies or humiliates you, especially in front of your friends. One minute they might be lovely to you and the next turn on you, but they should always treat you with respect. Don’t stand for it and if you’re worried about the bullying speak to a trusted adult or confide in a friend.

I’m being abused, is it my fault?

Nobody deserves to be abused and it’s never your fault or “just the way things are”. Abuse will have a long-term effect on your confidence and can cause anxiety or depression, stop you doing well at school or college and leave you feeling isolated and lonely. If you are being abused tell a trusted adult or friend.

My partner checks my text messages all the time, is this abuse?

It’s not right for your partner to check your text messages all the time or want to know where you’re going and who with. If this is happening to you, you need to do something about it. This type of controlling behaviour can escalate and if your partner is extremely jealous this will have an impact on your mental and physical health. Confide in your friends and if things get worse think about ending the relationship.

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