Identifying the signs of abuse on Scottish university campuses

The countdown to the new uni year is on and whether you are returning for another year or ready to step on campus for the first time, it is important to know the signs of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, degrading and violent behaviour, usually by a partner, ex-partner or family member.

It isn’t limited to physical abuse: It includes sexual, emotional, financial and digital abuse, too.


Scottish university campuses are working to make students aware of these signs, with Glasgow Caledonian University launching their #EraseTheGrey campaign during May 2018.

The campaign went viral after a student tweeted about the importance of its message.

The campaign uses sentences with selected words in grey to highlight the main messages: It is abuse, it is sexual harassment, it is rape.

Making Glasgow’s students aware of common excuses used to disguise domestic abuse is an important and worthwhile step, but more universities need to get on board to educate students.


Whether you are concerned you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, or you just want to equip yourself with the correct information, it is vital to be informed about the signs of abuse.

The signs of domestic abuse can include, but are not limited to:

  • Coercive control like intimidation, isolation or threats
  • Psychological or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial or economic abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

These patterns of behaviour aren’t limited to romantic relationships. It is possible to be in toxic friendships where it is equally important to recognise these signs and seek support.


It is essential that everyone knows how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and get out of the situation, but this can be even more difficult without the right support.

Even if you feel trapped in a situation with no way out, there is help out there.

Credit: @Scotwomensaid on Twitter

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse there is help and support available. In an emergency always call 999.

Womens Aid


Victim Support 

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline 

Abused Men in Scotland

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