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What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse happens across society and in all communities, it is always unacceptable. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lives, and 1 in 6 men will also.  Domestic abuse leaves you feeling scared and isolated, and whatever form it takes domestic abuse is never acceptable, here are some examples.

Physical abuse

Hitting, biting, restraining, locked in/out of room or home, spat or shouted at, stabbed, burnt, throttled.

Sexual abuse

Rape, forced to watch porn, openly cheats, withholds affection, sexually explicit films or photos without consent, sex on demand, passes STDs, any forced act, criticises sexual performance.

Emotional abuse

Degradation, exhaustion, isolation, enforce trivial demands e.g. recook a meal, displays of total power, threats, distortion, occasional treats to cause confusion, unhealthy bond.

Coercive control

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. Monitoring time, isolating from friends and family, taking control of every aspect of day to day life, controlling finances, monitoring through online activity, or using spyware to monitor movements.

Economic and financial abuse

Run up debts, keeps money, prevented from working e.g. not allowed to go to work, no financial contribution made, all the bills in victim’s name, forced to give up work, forced to beg, false credit e.g. forgery of signatures, fraudulent claims

Verbal abuse

Name calling, ‘put downs’, silence, blames the victim for everything, false accusations, insulting you or your family, humiliating you in private and/or in company, leaving nasty messages for you.

Cyber abuse

Checking phones, hacking into your own emails/social sites, putting app’s on systems which allow them to track you, access your messages, placing tracking devices on cars/bugs in homes.

Remember, anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of gender, age or race.  If you need our help please read more about our services here: service page

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Warning signs of domestic abuse

The signs of domestic abuse can be subtle and hard to spot, or it can result in physical injuries.  You may have noticed someone’s mood change, or not appear to be themselves.  We all have good and bad days, but these signs may indicate that someone is afraid and worried about their safety.


Bruising, cuts or injuries occurring frequently, or in areas that can be hidden by clothing, or perhaps is walking stiffly or appears sore. Sometimes gives explanations for injuries that don’t fit with the description or downplay their severity.


Displays physical symptoms related to stress, other anxiety disorders or depression, such as panic attacks, feelings of isolation and an inability to cope. May even talk about suicide attempts or self-harming.

Absent from work

Often off work, takes time off without notice or is frequently late. When they are at work they perform poorly, isolate themselves or are frequently checking their phone.

Stops socialising

May make excuses for not going out with friends, or suddenly pulls out of social meets at the last minute.

Lack of opportunity to communicate independently

Perhaps their partner talks over them, or for them, and they may be reluctant to speak. Their partner can appear controlling or make disparaging remarks to them.

Personality changes

You may notice personality changes when around their partner. They may be jumpy or show nervous mannerisms.

Low self-esteem

Has low self-esteem when talking about relationships or their life in general and may seem sad, cry or be depressed.


May take the blame for anything that happens, whether it’s at work, with the kids or with friends. May blame themselves for the abuse.

Lack of money

Perhaps they never seem to have any money on them or forgets their purse/wallet because their partner is withholding money to control them.

Their partner displays irrational behaviour

May say that their partner is jealous, irrational/possessive, or you can pick up that they behave this way. Their partner may accuse them of having affairs, check phone or constantly phone to check up on them.

Unwanted pregnancy or termination

Pregnancy often triggers the start of domestic abuse. She may be unhappy at being pregnant, not wish to continue with the pregnancy, or be forced into having a termination.

Substance abuse

May use alcohol or drugs to cope or even prescribed drugs such as tranquillisers or anti-depressants.

Lack of assertiveness

Seem distressed when it comes to making decisions, sticking up for themselves, giving their own opinion.

Damage to property

Damage may be observed in the home or even harm to pets.

Unwilling to give out personal details

May not give friends and colleagues their address or telephone number. May insist that they contact you, so that you don’t turn up on their doorstep.

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Some key facts