Recognising the signs of domestic abuse

It is important to recognise what abuse is - whether it is emotional, psychological, physical, sexual or financial. Take the time to find out if things you have noticed about a friend, relative, work colleague or neighbour could be a sign that they are suffering from domestic abuse.

Ask yourself the following questions:

You/they may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your/their partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticises you
  • Doesn't trust you and continually acts in a jealous or possessive manner
  • Tries to isolate you from your family or friends
  • Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Does not want you to work
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money
  • Punishes you by withholding affection
  • Expects you to ask permission
  • Threatens to hurt you, your children, your family or your pets
  • Humiliates you in any way.

You/they may be in a physically abusive relationship if your/their partner has ever:

  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.)
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place
  • Scared you by driving recklessly
  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
  • Forced you to leave your home
  • Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving
  • Prevented you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Hurt your children
  • Used physical force in sexual situations.

You/they may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your/their partner:

  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Wants you to dress in a certain way
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Has ever held you down during sex
  • Demands sex when you're sick, tired or after beating you
  • Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involves other people in sexual activities with you
  • Ignores your feelings regarding sex.

Did you answer yes to one or more of the above questions?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, this indicates that you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Although every situation is different there are common factors that link abusive relationships. Acknowledging these factors is an important step.