Abuse can mean lots of different things, such as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It's not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But the important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.

Healthy relationships are all about respecting each other. You should feel loved, safe and free to be yourself.

Abuse in relationships can happen to anyone. It’s not normal, it’s never OK and definitely not part of a healthy relationship.  It isn’t always physical, it can be emotional and sexual abuse too. If your relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it’s possible you’re in an abusive relationship.


Abuse can happen in a number of ways…


Sexting is when someone sends or receives a sexually explicit text, image or video.  This includes sending ‘nude pics’, ‘rude pics’ or ‘nude selfies’.  Pressuring someone into sending a pic can happen in any relationship and to anyone, whatever their age, gender or sexual preference. It’s easy to think everyone’s sending them, but they’re not. It’s not hilarious banter and if someone shares it, it could even be illegal.

Relationship abuse

Relationship abuse is when someone hurts or upsets someone else that they are in a relationship with. Some people think it only happens in adult relationships, but it can happen at any age. Usually, women and girls are the victims and men and boys are the abusers but it can happen to boys as well. It can also happen in same sex relationships.

Relationship abuse can include:

Emotional abuse 

  • Constant insults and name calling Isolation from your friends and family
  • Controlling what you wear/where you go
  • Checking up on you all the time (checking emails, texts, social networking sites etc)
  • Making you feel responsible for the abuse

Physical abuse

  • Hitting, punching, pushing, biting, kicking, using weapons etc.

Sexual abuse

  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Unwanted kissing or touching
  • Being made to watch pornography against your will
  • Pressure not to use contraception

Financial abuse

  • Taking/controlling your money
  • Forcing you to buy them things
  • Forcing you to work or not to work

If you or someone you know is being abused in any way, then the most important thing to do is talk to someone about it. You can call Childline on 0800 1111, or get in touch online at www.childline.org.uk about any abuse. RASASH (Rape and Sexual Abuse Highland) provides free, confidential support and information for survivors of sexual violence and abuse aged 13+, or for partners, family and friends. Call RASASH on 03330 066909 (Mon-Fri 9.30-4.30) or go to http://www.rasash.org.uk for more info.