We can all do things that make our partners unhappy from time to time. Every one of us can have arguments in relationships and behave in ways that we regret. But if this happens on a regular basis, it can be a sign of domestic abuse.
If you recognise one or more of the following behaviours by your partner, this indicates that you could be experiencing domestic abuse.
- They have tried to stop you seeing your family or friends
- Your partner often checks up on where you are, or follows you
- They accuse you of flirting or cheating, without reason
- Your partner often puts you down, criticises or insults you
- They make you feel afraid
- Your partner has forced you to do something you really didn’t want to do
- They have hurt you or your children
- Your partner has withheld money from you or put you in debt
- They have tried to stop you taking your medicine, or seeing a doctor
- Your partner has threatened to take away your children if you leave
- They have forced or pressured you to have sex with them or other people
- Your partner has made you take part in sexual activity that you weren’t comfortable with
- They force you to take drugs or alcohol
- Your partner blames their behaviour on drugs, alcohol, depression or their childhood
Signs for friends
Sometimes our closest friends can be suffering in silence. If you spot any of these signs, your friend may be experiencing domestic abuse in their relationship.
Does your friend’s partner call and text them all the time? Does it ever seem like they’re checking up on your friend?
Have you noticed you get to see your friend less and less, and that they’re also seeing less of their other friends and family? Maybe they seem to make excuses about why they can’t meet up, or you get the sense that your friend’s partner is taking over their life.
Does it ever seem like your friend won’t make a decision without checking with their partner first? Do they ever seem worried about their partner’s reaction?
Have you noticed that your friend is behaving out of character – e.g. dressing, acting, or speaking differently? Do you think they may ever feel pressured by their partner to look or behave in a certain way?
Does your friend change their behaviour to avoid accusations of cheating from their partner? Does it seem like their partner is often jealous for little reason?
Have you noticed your friend treading on eggshells to avoid rowing with their partner? Have you ever got the sense that your friend is a bit afraid of them?
Worried about your friend’s relationship?
Trust your instincts.
If your friend is a woman, call the 24-hour free local domestic abuse helpline and find out how you can help her: 0808 800 0340
The helpline is run by Women’s Aid Integrated Services. Find out more at wais.org.uk
Find out about support for men at equation.org.uk/need-help