Signs of domestic abuse

If you alter your behaviour because you are frightened of how your partner will react, this could be abuse. Many women experience domestic abuse without ever being physically harmed. Remember: non-physical forms of abuse can be as destructive and as undermining as physical violence.

Spotting the signs

Types of domestic abuse

  • Psychological/emotional abuse: Includes name-calling, threats and manipulation, blaming you for the abuse or ‘gaslighting’ you.
  • Coercive control: When an abuser uses a pattern of behaviour over time to exert power and control. It is a criminal offence.
  • Physical abuse: This isn’t only hitting. He might restrain you or throw objects. He might pinch or shove you and claim it’s a ‘joke’.
  • Tech abuse: He might send abusive texts, demand access to your devices, track you with spyware, or share images of you online.
  • Economic abuse: Controlling your access to money or resources. He might take your wages, stop you working, or put you in debt without your knowledge or consent
  • Sexual abuse: This doesn’t have to be physical. He might manipulate, deceive or coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do.

Am I in an an abusive relationship?

Relationships aren’t abusive, individuals are. Sometimes it’s tricky to know whether your experiences, or those of someone you love, qualify as abuse. We’ve come up with this list of questions to help you begin to spot the signs of an abusive partner:

  • Is your partner jealous and possessive?
  • Is he charming one minute and abusive the next?
  • Does he tell you what to wear, where to go, who to see?
  • Does he constantly put you down?
  • Does he play mind games and make you doubt your judgement?
  • Does he control your money, or make sure you are dependent on him for everyday things?
  • Does he pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?
  • Are you starting to walk on eggshells to avoid making him angry?
  • Does he control your access to medicine, devices or care that you need?
  • Does he monitor or track your movements or messages?
  • Does he use anger and intimidation to frighten and control you?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be experiencing domestic abuse. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Refuge is here to support you – find out how we can help you.