Recognising signs of domestic abuse

Although every situation is unique, there are certain behaviour patterns that are common factors that link the experience of an abusive relationship. Acknowledging these factors is an important step in preventing and stopping the abuse. This list can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are in an abusive relationship.

They include:

  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting; mocking; accusing; name calling; verbally threatening.
  • Pressure tactics: sulking; making threats such as threatening to withhold money, disconnecting the phone and internet, taking away or destroying your mobile, tablet or laptop, taking the car away, taking the children away; threatening to report you to the police, social services or the mental health team unless you comply with his demands; threatening or attempting self-harm and suicide; withholding or pressuring you to use drugs or other substances; telling somebody they have no choice in any decisions.
  • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you is trying have a conversation; interrupting your telephone calls; taking money from your purse without asking; refusing to help with childcare or housework.
  • Breaking trust: lying, keeping secrets or withholding information from you; being jealous; having other relationships; breaking promises and shared agreements.
  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your phone calls, e-mails and social media accounts, telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends and relatives; shutting you in the house; setting curfews eg: you must be home from work at exactly this time.
  • Harassment: following someone around; checking up on you; not allowing you any privacy (for example, opening your mail, going through your laptop, tablet or mobile), demanding to know pin-numbers and passwords, repeatedly checking to see who has phoned you; embarrassing you in public; accompanying you everywhere you go.
  • Threats: making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; another person, or invading their personal space; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a knife or a gun; threatening to kill or harm other people or pets; threats of suicide.
  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make someone perform sexual acts; having sex with someone without their consent; forcing someone to look at pornographic material; constant pressure and harassment into having sex, forcing someone to have sex with other people; any degrading treatment related to your sexuality.
  • Physical violence: punching or slapping; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair; pushing or shoving; burning or scalding; strangling, pinning you down, holding you by the neck, restraining you.
  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen; blaming someone else for the abuse; crying and begging for forgiveness; saying it will never happen again.