I am experiencing violence

Do you fear your partner might be abusive towards you (and/or your children)? Have you realised that you are in an abusive relationship? Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. It is not your fault if your partner is abusive towards you. He is the one choosing to be violent.

If you are looking at this page using a computer/cellphone/tablet that your partner might access, make sure to delete your browser and search history. If you have the feeling your partner is monitoring your online activities, check out this page for more information.

Signs of abuse

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Is your partner overly jealous and possessive?
  • Is he charming one minute and abusive the next?
  • Do you feel isolated from your friends and family?
  • Is he constantly criticizing you? Does he embarrass you and make others see you negatively?
  • Does your partner make you unsure of your own thoughts? Does he tell you you’re useless and couldn’t live without him?
  • Does he control your money? Does he tell you what to wear, who to see and where to go?
  • Does he pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
  • Are you being extremely careful to avoid making him angry?
  • Does he monitor your movements? Does he check your phone?
  • Does he destroy your things to frighten you?
  • Does he say you deserve his bad behaviour?

(source: Refuge)

Answering yes to any of these questions can indicate that you are experiencing abuse. However, no matter the result, if you feel unsafe in your home or with your partner, you should seek support.

Do you want your partner to participate in a perpetrator programme?

If you have already found a perpetrator programme your partner could attend, that's great. If you haven't, check our members list or you can search our programme database.

Find your country and see if there are any programmes in your country. If they are in your country, but not in your town, send them an e-mail or call to see if they know of services closer to home. They are used to being contacted about these things. If you can't find a programme in your country, send us an e-mail and we will ask around to find out if there is a programme suited to your needs in your country or area.

Please be aware that your partner may react aggressively or violently to the suggestion of visiting a perpetrator programme. You should consider calling a local women's support service to help you with the conversation and strategies to stay safe.

Find support

In Europe, you can find help in the WAVE support services database. Outside of Europe, search online for a domestic violence support service. Remember to delete the browser and search history from your devices (more info above).

See the WAVE support services database

What does a perpetrator programme offer your partner?

A perpetrator programme will not magically turn your partner into a non-violent person. However, it offers him the chance to talk about his actions, reflect on them and try to come to terms with his abusive behaviour. The programme will support your partner in

  • recognising and stopping his violent behaviours,
  • establishing tools for a non-violent, respectful relationship,
  • developing non-violent ways of communicating his frustrations, as well as,
  • learning how to take responsibility for his actions and the harm they cause.

The programme should challenge your partner’s ways of thinking and behaving in a way, which enables him to change.

Beware that your partner might try to keep you from leaving him, using his participation in the perpetrator programme as leverage. Nevertheless, remember: You do not owe your partner a relationship because he is working on himself. The process to a less violent life benefits him and if he is trying to influence and pressure you, he is still being abusive.

How do you recognise a good perpetrator programme?

A good perpetrator programme

  • does not pressure you into staying with your partner.
  • does not take your partner’s side.
  • does not pressure you into mediation or couple’s therapy.
  • does not tell you what to do (Beware: your partner might try and manipulate you by saying that the programme said you have to behave a certain way (e.g. stop asking him to help in the house)).
  • does not blame you for the violence you are experiencing.
  • gives you the information you need to get support and feel safer.
  • has your and your children’s safety at the centre of all its actions.
  • is aware of manipulation and will recognise your partner’s lies.
  • contacts you to hear your story and provide information about the programme.
  • provides evaluation of the programme and publish the results.