In your relationship or at home

Domestic violence

Every family has arguments at times. Every relationship involves conflicts. Sometimes an argument gets out of hand and there’s aggression. Sometimes an argument gets worse and then insults or beatings follow. Alcohol, stress or a feeling of helplessness can trigger the violence.

Domestic violence can include child abuse, child-to-parent violence, violence between siblings or partner violence. Different forms of domestic violence can occur together.

Partner violence

In a relationship, violence can be the result of frustration, a feeling of being powerless or stress. A dispute explodes and leads to aggression. The violence often happens both ways. Both partners commit violence or both are victims of violence.

In some relationships, the violence is one-sided. One partner uses violence to control the other. Or to force the partner to do something. The partner has to ask permission to go out or to buy something. The phone or financial expenses are being controlled. There is control over what clothing the partner wears. The partner cannot make free decisions about his or her life.

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Examples of domestic violence

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional or financial. Often multiple forms of violence are used interchangeably.

Physical violence:

  • Beating
  • Kicking
  • Biting
  • Burning with a cigarette
  • Strangling

Emotional Violence:

  • Insulting
  • Belittling
  • Isolating
  • Threatening
  • Controlling

Sexual Violence:

  • Forcing to perform sexual acts
  • Forcing to watch porn
  • Rape
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sending sexual images without consent
  • Making sexual images without consent

Financial violence:

  • Extreme financial dependence
  • Extortion
  • Swindling
  • Stealing

Active or passive

Domestic violence can be either active or passive. Active violence is, for example, physical abuse or blackmailing someone into doing things they don't want to do. Passive violence is violence by not doing something. For example, ignoring someone or not giving them love.

Talk about it. Anonymously and free of charge.

Is there aggression or abuse in your relationship or family? Are you worried about someone in a violent relationship or in a family? Are you worried about your own behaviour?

Discuss your situation anonymously with helpline 1712. Professional counsellors will listen to your story.

Children involved

Both men and women can commit or be victims of domestic violence. Partner violence happens by a partner or ex-partner. Partner violence occurs in minor and adult couples. Sometimes it’s one partner who uses violence. Sometimes both partners use violence.

Domestic violence occurs in all types of families. Partner violence can happen to anyone: young and old, rich and poor.

Sometimes children see or hear the violence between their parents or between a parent and a partner. When a child witnesses violence, it’s bad for his or her development.

Pierre (37) and Chantal (40) often argue

When my wife and I argue, we’re often violent. The other day she pushed me and I slapped her. I couldn't think straight anymore.


Alina (19) and Boris (13) fight all the time

It’s unbearable at my house. My half-sister makes my life hell. She belittles and insults me. Non-stop. Sometimes she slaps me. Lately I hit back. That’s when things explode. When I talk to my mother about this, she laughs it off.


Jeremy (23) has an anger problem

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As a child, my parents were always fighting. Sometimes it was very hard. In my family, I‘m also aggressive sometimes, just like my parents were. Now I realise this is not OK. It's going in the wrong direction. My children don't deserve this.


Amir (67) worries about the neighbours

Picture of an elderly man

My neighbour has a new partner. I often hear them yelling through the walls. I can hear how they belittle each other. Recently I heard glass breaking. And the children were crying. Because of the loud banging, I think they throw things at each other.


Catalina (36) depends on her husband

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I work half-time and take care of our children. My partner handles all the finances. I don't have access to our money. I feel unhappy in my relationship and may want to leave my partner. But I can’t for financial reasons. Of course, I can leave and start working full time. But who’ll take care of the children then?