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What’s love got to do with It?

Campaign to promote awareness of dating abuse


Written by Maire Rowland and posted in life


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Is your relationship making you feel comfortable and happy? If something isn't sitting quite right with you and you feel worried about yours or a friends relationship you may be involved or witnessing a toxic relationship. COPE Galway's 'What's Love got to do with it?" awareness campaign highlights the signs of dating abuse.

Signs of an abusive relationship 

According to COPE Galway's website, a happy relationship is when your partner:

  • Respects your right to change your mind
  • Respects your privacy and your friends
  • Respects and trusts you
  • Respects what you are comfortable with.

An unhealthy relationship can be difficult to spot. If you think you may be in an abusive relationship start by asking yourself questions about your partner and their behaviour towards you.

Do you feel?

  • Lonely when your partner stop yous from spending time with your friends
  • Confused when one minute they say they love you and the next hurt you
  • Pressured when your partner insist on having sex, or watching pornographic movies
  • Trapped when they say they love you and can’t go on without you 
  • Controlled when they are constantly texting and checking up on you
  • Embarrassed when they slag you off and put you down in front of your friends

What counts as dating abuse?

Physical Abuse

Involves violent or threatening contact with another persons body. This can be slapping, kicking, pinching, punching, etc.

Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Involves the spoken word. This can be calling names, making you feel low about yourself and playing mind games.

Sexual Abuse

Being forced to take part in any sexual activity when you don't want to or being exposed against your will to sexually explicit material.

How will I know if my friend is in an unhealthy relationship?

All relationships are different but there are signs you can look out for if you think a friend might be in an abusive relationship.

  • Their partner is always checking up on them, calling and texting demanding to know who they are with
  • Their partner is calling them names and putting them down
  • Their partner acts very jealous when they are talking to other people
  • They apologise and make excuses for their partner
  • My friend has stopped doing things they previously enjoyed doing
  • They feel it's 'too much too soon'
  • You have seen their partner lose their temper and maybe hit or break things when mad
  • Their weight or appearance has changed a lot
  • Your friend is worried about making their partner angry
  • They have injuries that can't be explained

What should I do if I am concerned about a friend?

If you think your friend is in an abusive relationship there are things you can do to help

  • Break the silence and express your concern
  • Let your friend know it won't get better by itself
  • Write down supports your friend already has
  • Don't look for reasons for the abuse
  • Be patient
  • Tell your friend about places they can go to talk
  • Don't try to deal with this by yourself
  • Don't ask what caused it - there is no excuse for abuse

What should I do if I am concerned about my own relationship?

If you are concerned about your relationship there are supports and services available to help you.

If you are thinking about a leaving an abuse partner there are steps you can take to ensure you are prepared when that time comes

  • Change the number of your mobile, and always have credit to be able to call someone who could help you if you need help.
  • Organise somewhere could you go quickly to get away from an abusive person
  • Keep a diary describing the abuse
  • Tell a friend or someone you trust about the violence and abuse
  • Talk to an adult you trust about what is worrying you.
  • Think about who you can call for a lift home if you are stuck

To find out more about the campaign and about who you can contact if you are experiencing or witnessing dating abuse visit COPE Galway's website.

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Published February 16th, 2015
Last updated May 22nd, 2018
Tags mental health relationships bytes domestic violence activism wellbeing
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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