Signs of Domestic Violence & Abuse

There are different kinds of abuse, but it’s always about having power and control over you.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or downplay it?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?
  • monitor your social media profiles, share photos or videos of you without your consent or use GPS locators to know where you are?

Threats and intimidation

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone.

Does your partner or someone you live with ever:

  • touch you in a way you do not want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

If anyone has sex with you when you do not want to, this is rape. It is still rape if that person is your partner.

Have you ever felt afraid of your partner?

Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there are lots of people who can help you.

Domestic violence and abuse against women often starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse. Read more about domestic abuse in pregnancy.

It can be difficult to spot when your relationship is becoming unhealthy, “toxic” or abusive. If you are still not sure, you can find more information here.

If you are aged under 24, Love Respect empowers young people to talk about relationship abuse and how to spot red flags.

It’s important to recognize domestic abuse because the victims are our friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors.

  • Being upset or agitated
  • Being withdrawn or unresponsive
  • Exhibiting signs of fear or nervousness around certain people
  • Displaying sudden changes in behaviour or unusual behaviours
  • Having injuries such as cuts, bruises, black eyes, or broken bones
  • Having bruises, bleeding, torn clothes, or bloodstains around genital areas
  • Being dehydrated, malnourished, or unkempt
  • Living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing or sunglasses to cover up bruising
  • Having unusual eating or sleeping habits
  • Being extremely meek and apologetic
  • Losing interest in daily activities
  • Isolating from friends and family

Supporting Someone Who Has Been Abused

If you’re worried a friend or someone close to you is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong.

They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.

  • Listen, and take care not to blame them
  • Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
  • Give them time to talk, but do not push them to talk if they do not want to
  • Acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation
  • Tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said
  • Support them as a friend, encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions
  • Do not tell them to leave the relationship or leave home if they’re not ready – that’s their decision
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm and if they have, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
  • Help them report the assault to the police if they choose to
  • Tell them about this website and the information they can find on here
  • Be ready to provide information about organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse
  • Respect whatever choice they make and let them know you’ll be there for them regardless of what they decide

If you’re a young person worried about a friend who has been abused or you may be in an unsafe situation, you can find more information here.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or in need of urgent protection, call the police on 999.

Staying Safe / Practical Advice

We’ve put together some suggestions you might want to consider in order to make yourself as safe as possible.

Our Partners

Across Ealing there are a number of support services available to help in making the right decisions for you.

Want to report something? Visit Street Safe >