Psychological violence report

Research into non-physical domestic abuse

This report sheds light on the regularity of psychological abuse, the daily experiences of those living with it and the tactics those perpetrating psychological abuse use to threaten and control.

The research was funded by the Oak Foundation as part of their ‘Issues Affecting Women’ programme.

It is co-created with survivors of domestic abuse and domestic abuse practitioners. The report concludes with recommendations for policymakers, commissioners and practitioners.

    Key findings

  • 91%

    of survivors experienced some form of psychological violence in their relationship

  • 47%

    of survivors reported having suicidal thoughts

    due to the psychological violence

  • 85%

    of survivors said the perpetrator used the children to threaten and control them

  • 49%

    experienced severe psychological manipulation with a partner threatening to take their own life

    following an abusive incident, or them trying to end the relationship

  • 93%

    of practitioners supported healthy relationship education in schools and children's services

    to help identify psychological violence earlier

Psychological violence or abuse? A note about terms

This report emphasises that the term psychological ‘violence’ is not consistently used or understood in the UK and should be replaced by the word ‘abuse’ to avoid theoretical confusion. However, as this report was commissioned by a European-based funder, we have used the term ‘violence’ throughout as this is more commonly stated in the Istanbul Convention.

Further research and reading

Psychological abuse

Non-physical abuse is serious and can have long-lasting effects. Find out more about what it is and how to spot the signs.