Prevent men’s violence against women

Social abuse

What is social abuse?

Perpetrators of social abuse prevent a person from spending time with family and friends, and participating in social activities. By isolating them from their support networks, the perpetrator is attempting to assert power and control.

Without a network of friends and family for support, a person can find it very difficult to leave an abusive relationship.

Signs of social abuse

Social abuse can include:

  • monitoring someone’s phone calls and emails
  • deciding which friends and family members your partner can talk to and spend time with
  • continuously criticising your partner’s friends and family
  • not allowing your partner to meet or spend time with neighbours
  • moving the person far away so they cannot reach family or friends
  • verbally and/or physically abusing them in public or in front of other people.

Learn more about the other types of abuse.

What to do if you are experiencing social abuse

If you are in an abusive relationship, you can find help now.


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