Violence and abuse

Violence can be defined as any action which deliberately injures, frightens, wounds or has any other negative impact on another person. All forms of violence are unlawful and can cause physical or psychological damage. You should seek help if you are a victim of violence and/or abuse, or know of someone else who is.

Boy on porch

Forms of violence and abuse

​Violence can be physical actions such as hitting or kicking, or mental violence such as intimidation, degradation, control and humiliation. Violence can also be sexual violence, such as rape, incest, or unwanted groping.

Other forms of violence include actions which frighten or wound, such as material violence; destruction of valuable objects or other destruction which is frightening to witness, and financial violence; material exploitation of others or preventing others from gaining access to their money.

Violence and abuse can be broadly divided into what happens in close relationships (e.g. violence between partners, violence against children or between siblings), or violence in other relationships (at the workplace, between friends and acquaintances or in public space).

You can get help if you suffer violence or abuse

Report violence and abuse

​All violence is potentially harmful and an unlawful act. If you are the victim of violence or you have witnessed violence between other people, you should seek help to try to end the violence or to receive assistance for any harm you may have suffered.

If you know, or suspect, that someone may be subjected to violence or abuse, you have a unique opportunity to help. You may also have a statutory obligation to try to stop it from happening. According to, we are all subject to the duty to prevent it from happening, regardless of whether we work with people and are subject to a duty of confidentiality, or whether we are a private individual.

Violence and abuse can cause physical injury in both the short and the long term, as well as mental health problems or disorders. For many victims of serious violence, the resultant disorders can involve anxiety problems, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You can get help here:

  • In urgent situations and if life is at risk, call the police on 112.
  • You can contact your local police station on 02800.
  • If children are involved, you should also contact the Child Welfare Service.