Recognise the signs of domestic abuse
They’re not always physical
If something doesn’t feel right in your relationship, it probably isn’t. Your gut is trying to warn you, and we encourage you to trust it, and to seek help when you’re ready. We hope the following statements help you identify what that ‘something’ is.
It’s important to note that amidst the following signs of domestic abuse, your partner can and probably does also intermittently display remorseful and loving behaviour, which makes it all the more confusing.
Please note we’ve gendered the descriptions below because intimate partner violence is predominantly male to female. But of course it also happens in queer relationships and we are here for you too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, our support is completely confidential.
Yes, domestic abuse doesn’t have an age limit, but it is often associated with older couples. It might help you to relabel it as a ‘toxic’, ‘abusive’ or ‘unhealthy’ relationship. You can find more information about red flags and advice for under 18s here.
It’s really tough watching someone you care about being mistreated by their partner. As someone witnessing the relationship from the outside, you’re probably seeing things which are too difficult for her to realise whilst she’s in it.
If your friend is in an abusive relationship, be there for her and check in as regularly, sensitively and tactfully as you can.
Her partner will probably be trying to isolate her from others so it’s really important to maintain a link with her for her safety.
Whilst you can’t make her do anything — that’s her decision and on average it takes 9 attempts for a woman to leave her abusive partner — there are ways you can help. You can find more advice on supporting a loved one here.
We often hear people asking ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’ when talking about the impact and severity of domestic abuse. It’s a question which leaves women feeling judged, alienated, misunderstood and ashamed. It’s also a question which isn’t easy to answer, with a wide range of reasons, so we’ve listed a few:
- Danger of increased risk of violence trying to leave the relationship
- Confused by your partner’s manipulation which creates a blurred perception of reality
- Love and empathy for your partner’s story, experiences and hardships
- Hope that your love and sacrifices can heal your partner
- Lack of financial resources to leave if you’re dependent on your partner
- Isolation and lack of community to support you if you leave your partner
- Fear you’ll be deported if you leave your partner and are on a spousal visa
- Fear that you’ll be made to report your partner and he will be deported if he is on a visa or has leave to remain immigration status
- Fear and shame of disrespecting your family, religion or culture
- Fear that your children will be taken away or suffer from the separation
- Fear of leaving pets behind
- Denial of your partner’s violence and its impact on you and your children
- Feeling worthless without your partner because of what he’s said to belittle your self-esteem and emotionally abuse you
- Longing and having hope that your partner will change to the person you temporarily experience during the ‘honeymoon’ phase of the abusive cycle
- Trauma bonding
Because he chooses to be, and his decision to control and abuse you in this way while managing to control his behaviour towards everyone else, might stem from:
- His dysfunctional family background and unresolved traumas growing up
- His belief that because he has experienced pain, you should too
- Patriarchy, sexist culture and gender norms which lead him to believe he’s entitled to control you, hurt you and that you belong to him
- Pornified popular culture shaping his dehumanising views of women, in the music he listens to, the films he watches and the misogynist role models he admires privately and publicly