What is domestic violence?

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from domestic violence, we will help you recognize the signs and what measures you can take.

Very often people perceive domestic violence only as physical aggression in which one partner hits the other. However, this does not completely exhaust the term “domestic violence”. It includes any gesture – verbal or non-verbal – by which one person in the relationship exercises control or dominance over the other or their children. The victim is charged with feelings of guilt, shame, fear, dependence, and very often the abuser isolates her from the surrounding world in order to nurture his sense of ownership over her.

A victim of domestic violence can be anyone – men and women, people in heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Women suffer the highest percentage of domestic violence, although men can also be subject to emotional and verbal abuse.

In Bulgaria, a large number of people are still ashamed to admit that they are a victim of violence. This is a problem that needs to be worked on, as by a foundation “Until & Dock for the future’ we strive to campaign for greater awareness of human rights, how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and how legal provisions can help us to protect ourselves.

Common forms of domestic violence

Domestic violence can be classified into several types – verbal/emotional, economic, physical and sexual. We will briefly describe what these several main types include.

Verbal/emotional abuse

A type of violence that can be direct - in the form of direct insults, or indirect - with communication manipulations that gradually take away the victim's freedom and force her to obey the aggressor. Emotional abuse often confuses the victim's mind and she may not realize that she is being assaulted for quite some time.

Economic violence (financial restraint)

In this case, the abuser limits the victim's finances, controls what she buys, questions every leva spent. It happens that the aggressor insists that the victim does not work, but takes care of the children and the home, while he is the only source of income.


The most recognizable and unequivocal type of violence is when the aggressor physically injures his victim. Assault is a crime, and in such cases it is advisable to immediately contact the police and undergo a medical examination to determine the extent of the damage caused to your body.

Sexual violence

Any sexual act that takes place without your consent or involves non-consensual sexual acts is considered abuse.

If your partner has allowed himself to hurt you once, don’t kid yourself that it won’t happen again.

Accidental injury is a sign of crossing a line in the relationship where the partner accepts that everything is allowed and will go unpunished.

Causes of domestic violence

Being an aggressor is unacceptable and there is no excuse that can mitigate the guilt of a person with this type of behavior. One of the leading misconceptions is that domestic violence happens precisely because a person loses control over his behavior. This is not the case – the aggression happens consciously. It is the result of one’s choice and desire to control another. In order to achieve his goal, the aggressor can use various tactics of manipulation and the exercise of force.


The abuser is the person responsible for "fixing" the couple, making decisions, controlling finances, instilling a sense of subordination in the victim. It is implied that everything good for the couple happens thanks to the aggressor.


The abuser crushes their partner's self-esteem, makes them feel as if they are never good enough in their behavior and that they have not and will not achieve anything in life.


The aggressor tries little by little to limit the victim's contacts with the outside world, does not allow her to communicate with relatives and friends, does not allow her to leave the home or talk on the phone.


The abuser uses threats and ultimatums to ensure that the victim will not take action to leave him. Threats can be very different - for custody of children, for injury, for murder or suicide, etc.


The aggressor blames the victim for what is happening, suggests to her that her actions caused the unpleasant disputes, quarrels or physical violence.


The abuser convinces the victim that their relationship is harmonious, that everything that happens is "normal". Also, he may find excuses for what is happening - difficult childhood, problems with father/mother, etc.

Most often, the aggressor shows himself as such to his closest family members, and in front of society, friends and relatives, he behaves beautifully and looks like a model of a loving husband. You should not forget that the abuser practices harassment quite consciously and tries to skillfully hide himself from outside eyes.

Consequences of domestic violence

Domestic violence can cause permanent and irreparable damage not only to the physical but also to the psyche of the victim. Follow-up therapy can take years for the victim to fully recover their mental health. The consequences of domestic violence are extremely individual in relation to the specifics of the case. We will list some of the most common ones:

Effects on general health

bruises on the body and face; red and purple spots on the skin; sprained or broken limbs; chronic fatigue; Lack of air; trembling; sexual problems; insomnia, etc.;

Consequences on the psyche

severe anxiety; feeling deeply stressed; depression; despair and sadness; lack of self-esteem; suicidal thoughts; feeling of hopelessness.

Последици с фатален изход

in recent years, the cases of victims who fail to free themselves from their abuser have increased, and tragedies have resulted.

The impact that violence has on children who witness domestic violence should not be overlooked. For them, this can lead to difficulties both in childhood and later in adulthood.

When do we need help?

There are a number of signs of domestic violence, which we will try to list.

The first and most obvious sign is feeling afraid of your partner. If you feel constant anxiety in communicating with him, try to be careful what words you use in front of him to avoid conflict, your relationship is probably toxic. Domestic violence is present if in your relationship:

Signs of an abusive relationship

In most cases, it is extremely difficult to notice from the outside that there is domestic violence in a couple. However, there are some telltale signs that may indicate that there is a problem with your loved one or neighbor. If you witness any of the signs listed below, it’s important to take action – try to talk to the victim or even call domestic violence crisis centers and the police.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from domestic violence, do not expect that he will be the initiator and come to you with a request for help. What you can do is ask them if everything is okay, express your concern and most of all listen to them. The first and most important step is for the victim to gain the courage to share about what is happening to her, and at a later stage one can think about taking action – leaving the partner, making a restraining order, etc. Regardless of their current decision to continue cohabitation with their partner, it is very important to support them and not pressure them to rebel.

Methods of prevention

Prevention is extremely important in reducing and preventing cases of domestic violence. Therefore, it is important to be informed and educate the next generations not only in maintaining family values, but also how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and not tolerate it. The victim should not suffer, but should take measures to limit contact with the abuser as quickly as possible.

What can we do?

• Raising awareness in society;
• Increasing the number of crisis centers in Bulgaria for help in cases of domestic violence;
• A clear process of assistance from the various public institutions and protection from domestic violence - police, forensic medicine, etc. in cases of violence;
• Establishing strict sanctions for the aggressors;
• Support and sympathy from society and relatives of victims of domestic violence.

It's time to end domestic violence!

The team of the “Dokova & Dokov for the Future” foundation fights for the prevention of cases of domestic violence, as well as for the provision of timely and reliable help to women and children suffering from abuse at home. If you share our cause, please keep spreading the word about domestic violence. You can contact us if you are interested in volunteering in our upcoming donation projects.

Donation Account

Bank: DSK Bank
IBAN: BG31STSA93000028622777

дарителска сметка

Банка: Банка ДСК
IBAN: BG31STSA93000028622777