There are many commonly held myths and misconceptions around behaviours that you may be thinking of reporting. These myths can lead to an increased prevalence of issues, poor support for victims/survivors, and/or incorrect outcomes in formal reporting procedures. Here at Southampton we are committed to speaking up and challenging these myths and harmful narratives.

Myths about Domestic Abuse

Myth: Domestic abuse always involves physical violence.

Reality: Domestic abuse does not always include physical violence. Domestic abuse can include coercive control; psychological and/or emotional abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse; harassment; stalking; and/or online or digital abuse.

Myth: Women often lie about abuse.

False allegations about domestic abuse are extremely rare. The Crown Prosecution Service released the first ever study of this in 2013, and concluded that false allegations are even more infrequent than previously thought. In the 17 month period that the study examined, there were 111,891 prosecutions for domestic violence, and only six prosecutions for making false allegations.  (

Myth:  LGBT+ people do not experience domestic abuse in their relationships. 

Fact: Everyone can experience domestic abuse, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality. 

Myth: Violence in a same-sex relationship is often mutual because the partners have equal power. 

Fact: Power isn't attributed exclusively by physical strength, or gender stereotypes. Anyone can exert power over another person. 

Myth: My partner demands details of my social and financial interactions only because they love me and are very protective. 

Fact: Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten someone. This is a form of domestic violence. This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour. One does not have to be married or co-habiting to suffer these. It can happen in any relationship, in or outside a university or your home. You do not have to be living with your partner to experience coercive control.

* Credits to Rape Crisis England and Wales and Survivors UK for some of the information contained in this article. 

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