Worried about domestic abuse

Everyone has arguments and disagreements with their partners, family members and others close to them from time to time. However, when intense arguments, silent treatment or hostile verbal exchanges begins to form a consistent pattern, or you feel your partner is trying to control you then it can be an indication of domestic abuse. To explore this further sign up to one of our courses in the community such as the freedom programme or ‘own my life’ where you can explore healthy and unhealthy conflict.

If you want to find out how to respond to domestic abuse or sexual violence as a bystander in a public situation head to eventbrite and book onto equations Bystander community training which is just 90 minutes and takes place online.

Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse and violence as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

How do I know if it’s really abuse?

  • Feeling afraid and anxious?
  • Stopping seeing friends and family
  • Being anxious, depressed, withdrawn or losing confidence
  • Is your partner is jealous or possessive?
  • Physical violence
  • Does your partner continually phone or text when you are apart
  • Feeling pressured or forced to do sexual things
  • Are they controlling all the money
  • Are you being harassed or stalked after ending a relationship?

See recognising abuse for more information.

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong. They might not be ready to talk, but try to find quiet time when they can talk if they wish.

What do I do if someone has confided in me?

If someone confides in you about experiencing domestic abuse, your response is very important.  You can make a real difference. If the victim feels supported by the people around them, they are more likely to seek help. Remember to:

  • Listen, and take care not to blame them
  • Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about being abused
  • Give them time to talk
  • Acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation
  • Tell them nobody should be made to feel scared, despite what the abuser has said
  • Support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and make their own decisions
  • Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision
  • If they have suffered physical harm – offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
  • Help them report the assault to the police if they choose to
  • Be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse

What should I do next?

If you are worried about someone else, you can call the national 24 hour helpline:

0808 2000 247

0808 2000 247

Calls to this number are free of charge and will not appear in your call history. All calls are private, confidential and, if you prefer, anonymous. The helpline can provide access to an interpreter for non-English-speaking callers. For further information, see the Helpline FAQs (this will open a new window).

Women’s Aid also have some information on their website which describes ways you may be able to help:

I’m worried about someone else (opens in a new tab)