Sometimes people think of domestic abuse as something that happens between married couples, or people in long-term relationships. The truth is, abuse happens to women of all ages, including teenagers and young women.

Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence, it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

It doesn’t matter if you have known someone for two weeks or two years, abuse happens and it is never okay. He might tell you it’s just because he loves you, but love is never an excuse to treat someone this way.

You deserve to be happy. It’s not your fault if he is abusive, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make him change the way he behaves.

It can be difficult to figure out why you feel scared or anxious in your relationship, and to work out if something isn’t right. The quiz below might be able to help you recognise if you are experiencing abuse.

We know it can be really difficult to ask for help, or to know where to turn, but you are not alone. If you are worried about your relationship and scared of your boyfriend there are lots of people you can ask for help; see information in the tabs below.

Take our quiz
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Who do I ask for help?



Women’s Aid groups work with lots of young women. They can help you by giving you emotional and practical support, including counselling. Find your local Women’s Aid here, call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234, or email them on

If there is an adult or tutor that you trust at your school, college or university it is totally okay to ask them for help. Even if they don’t know what to do, they should help you access the support you need. Every school, college and university has someone that is in charge of the wellbeing of their students. As much as possible, adults should respect your wish to keep what you have said private if that is what you want. If they think you are in immediate danger or at risk of serious harm they might have to tell other people, like the police.

If you think you are in immediate danger then you can call the police on 999 or, to report a non-urgent crime call 101.

You can speak to your doctor or nurse about abuse confidentially, and ask for medical assistance if you need it.