If you feel scared or anxious in your relationship, or if you think your partner might be abusive then you are not alone. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, it is not your fault.

Domestic abuse isn’t a one off – it usually happens again and again and the abusive partner will try different things to get control. It usually gets worse over time, and for many women it can continue even after the relationship has ended.

Because domestic abuse is about power, abusers can use lots of different ways to get control.

Women who have moved to another country experience many of the same experiences of domestic abuse as women who were born there, but there are some differences in how abusive partners try to get control depending on how they see their victim as being vulnerable.

Has your partner ever...

Does your partner ever:

• Stop you from learning English or communicating with friends and family at home?

• Not let you leave the house?

• Threaten to have you deported if you do anything about the violence or abuse?

• Tell you no-one will help you if you try to leave because you have no rights in this country?

• Destroy or hide your passport and legal documents

• Make you doubt yourself, or feel like you are imagining things?

• Insist on coming with you to the doctor and other appointments so you are never alone?

• Threaten to tell your community that you are disobeying him and that you are a bad wife?

• Give you little or no money, even for basic things like food?

• Tell you that you can’t call the police because you are in the country illegally?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it sounds like your partner is abusive.

About abuse in intimate relationships

Domestic abuse is so much more than only 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.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.

Some women feel like they are in an impossible situation, and sometimes services like local Women’s Aid groups are not allowed to offer support to women, based on their immigration status. We believe this is a big risk to immigrant women and children’s safety, and are continuing to campaign to change this requirement.

It can be difficult to know where to turn if you feel scared and anxious in your relationship, but you are not alone. If you are worried and intimidated by your partner there are people who can help.

Support and advice

It is important that you seek support and advice, and find out what your options are. The best people to help you are:

  • The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre offer free legal information and support to all women, including those with no recourse to public funds.
  • Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234 who can help you to work out your options. There is a translating and interpreting service available if English is not your first language and a multi-lingual website at sdafmh.org.uk.
  • The Women`s Project who provide legal advice and representation to refugee and migrant women and children in Scotland who have an unsettled asylum/immigration position and who have experienced gender-based violence in their country of origin and/or the UK. www.lsa.org.uk/lsa
  • The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre (EMLC) provides legal advice and representation to individuals from Scotland’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.  www.emlc.org.uk

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If you feel scared of or around your partner or if you are worried about someone you know, get in touch with Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit sdafmh.org.uk.

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