Helping you get through tough times

Domestic violence

Domestic violence can occur in many forms and affects people of any age. Any form of violence or excessive control that happens within a family or home setting is considered to be domestic violence.

The shadow of a personIt can happen between parents, children, extended family members or even close family friends.

If someone’s hurting you it can be very scary and may be difficult to know how to stop it.

Remember, no one has the right to be violent towards you, no matter who they are. There are people out there who can help.


Some forms of physical violence are pushing, shaking, slapping, forcing you to do sexual things against your will, throwing things at you, damaging your property, hurting or killing pets.


This form of violence is often unrecognised and can be very hurtful.

Some forms of emotional violence are making threats, speaking in a way that’s frightening, putting you down and emotional blackmail.


This form of violence may happen in conjunction with other things. If someone’s insulting you or teasing you in front of other people, keeping you isolated from family and friends or controlling what you do and where you go.

This can often happen without physical violence, but you still may need to take some action.

Spiritual or cultural

This violence is about not allowing you to have your own opinions about religion, cultural beliefs, and values.

This can be tough as these issues go right to the very core of who we are.

How can I keep myself safe?

Listen to your feelings and trust them. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Being safe and secure is important and there are things you can do to ensure your safety.

Steps towards your safety

  • Is there immediate danger? How likely is it someone would hurt you? If necessary, you may have to move to somewhere safe.
  • Do you have support? Leaving a situation where you feel unsafe may be hard and scary, if possible, talk to someone you trust, like a friend, or a counsellor.
  • Talk to the Gardaí. If you feel unsafe the police are good people to talk to. If you, or someone you know has been hurt, the Gardaí will be able to help.
  • Believe in yourself. If someone is hurting you or threatening to, it can be hard to maintain self-confidence. Remember it’s NEVER OK for someone to hurt or threaten to hurt you.
  • It may be a good idea to check out your legal rights. Have a look at

Get help

The Gardaí are there to help if you or someone you know is in danger. They have special training to help in situations where there may be domestic violence. You can call 999 if you’re in Ireland or 112 from anywhere in Europe.

Women’s aid provides support to women and their children who are being physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused in their homes. Call their National Freephone Helpline on 1800341900.

Aoibhneas is a women and children’s refuge. Call their 24-hour helpline on 01 8670701 for advice and information,or email

Rape Crisis Help provides nationwide support for the victims of sexual abuse. Their free helpline is 1800 778 888.

Immigrant Council of Ireland has information on migrant women’s rights and domestic violence.

AkiDwA is a national network of African and migrant women living in Ireland, that aims to promote equality and justice. Call on 01 8148582 or email

The National Office for Victims of Abuse provides assistance, support and advice for people in abusive relationships. Freephone 1800 252 524.

Childline is a free phone service, available 24 hours a day for people up to the age of 18 years-old. It’s there to help young people going through a tough time or if they need to talk to someone. Call 1800 66 66 66.

This article was last reviewed on 03 May 2017

What can I do now?

  • Call Women’s aid on freephone 1800341900
  • Try the National Office for Victims of Abuse on freephone 1800 252 524 which provides assistance, support and advice for people in abusive relationships

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