Intimate Partner Violence

Did you know it happens to young people too?

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can happen to anyone, including young people.  Many of us might not associate an abusive relationship with young people, but we should all be aware that it can happen in any relationship.

In a national survey on domestic abuse, almost 60% of people who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships experienced the abuse for the first time under the age of 25.  So what is Intimate Partner Violence?  It doesn’t have to be physical, and it may be more complicated than you realise.

Intimate Partner Violence occurs between two people who are in an intimate relationship.  That is people who are dating, living together, or married.  It can happen in LGBT* relationships as well as with straight couples.  It can happen to young women and young men.  Some young people may not realise that it is happening to them.

Learning about the signs of an abusive relationship is really important.  To help keep yourself safe and to watch out for your friends.  No one should live in fear of the person they love.  If you think yourself, or someone you know may be in an unsafe relationship, then reach out.  There is support available so you can talk about it with somebody who cares, and can help you understand what’s going on.

Do you know the signs?  How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship?

Ask yourself…

Do you feel unloved?  Disrespected?  Like you can’t tell your partner how you feel?  Are you afraid to upset your partner?  Do you feel like you can’t make them happy?

Is your partner nice to you in public but mean to you in private?  Does your partner make you feel bad about yourself?  Does your partner try to stop you from seeing family and friends?

Does your partner make you do things you don’t want to do?  Do they insult you or call you names?  Do they pressure you into sexual acts?  Do they embarrass or humiliate you in front of others?  Does your partner have more control in the relationship?  Have they hurt you physically?

Feel like you need to chat to somebody after reading this list?  These supports can offer a non-judgemental and supportive listening ear service.

Things you can do:
  • Seek support from the services below
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Report any violence to your local Gardaí
  • Get medical attention if necessary
  • Do not retaliate

Women’s Aid free 24/7 helpline: 1800 341 900 /

Who can call the Women’s Aid helpline?  Women who are experiencing, or have experienced intimate partner violence, friends and family seeking to support women or children and professionals who are supporting women and children.

Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service free 24 hour helpline: 1800 262 677  /

AMEN (Abuse Against Men) Confidential support line: 046 902 3718 /  confidential support email:  /

This list of signs was created in consultation with a group of young people who did an 8 week programme on Intimate Partner Violence at Donegal Youth Service.  They do not list all of the signs and behaviours that can happen with IPV, but they do list many of the most commonly reported signs by young people.

[Domestic abuse of men and women in Ireland, National Crime Council & ESRI 2005]

If you are a young person who is worried about yourself or someone you know, you can contact us on the details below.

Donegal Youth Service is a countywide youth organisation, striving to meet the needs of young people all over Donegal.  For more information, or to get in contact you can pop in to 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny, call 074 91 29630, email, and stay up to date with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

This interview originally appeared in The Leader.  Donegal Youth Service have a column in each issue – pick up a copy today!  Available countywide.


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