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Domestic Abuse Behaviours

Are you or someone you know in an abusive relationship? Learn more about domestic abuse, including the subtle signs to look out for.

How to recognise domestic abuse behaviour

Domestic abuse can include a range of behaviours, such as physical abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and sexual violence. 

Physical abuse can include:

  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Hair Pulling
  • Biting
  • Burning
  • Hitting
  • Choking
  • Kicking

Emotional abuse can include:

  • Being verbally abused and humiliated
  • Being constantly blamed
  • Being put down in front of other people
  • Being kept away from family and friends

Sexual abuse can include:

  • Rape
  • Being forced to watch or act out pornography
  • Being talked to in sexually degrading ways
  • Indecent phone calls

Financial abuse can include:

  • Being kept without money
  • Having wages, benefits or pension being taken away from you
  • Having to account for all your spending

I am experiencing domestic abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, here are some important things to remember.

  • Recognise it is happening to you.
  • Accept that you are not to blame.
  • Seek help and support.
  • Make a crisis safety plan - seek advice from support agencies, for example: Women's Aid, Police, Men's Advisory Project.
  • Get advice about your legal rights and protection.

What are the signs of domestic abuse?

All relationships are different and it’s not always obvious that someone is being abused. However, if you recognise any of the signs below in a friend, family member, or co-worker, it is important to speak out.

  • Their partner puts them down in front of other people
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behaviour
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries
  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality

You may be a neighbour who may have seen or heard:

  • Threatening and intimidating arguments, which may involve violent language or escalate to smashing up the furniture.
  • Arguments where the partner blames the other for their actions, saying they are “asking for it” or deserve the abuse.
  • Individuals with bruising or other visible marks, which may have been caused by physical abuse.