Domestic violence can happen to both women and men, the abuser can be anyone.
How do I know if it’s really abuse?
Common warning signs include:
- Feeling afraid and anxious to please their partner
- Stopping seeing friends and family
- Being anxious, depressed, withdrawn or losing their confidence
- Saying their partner is jealous, possessive or has a bad temper
- Showing signs of physical violence, such as bruises, sprains or cuts
- Saying their partner continually phones or texts them when they are apart
- Not wanting to leave their children with their partner
- Saying their partner pressures or forces them to do sexual things
- Saying their partner controls their money
- Being harassed or stalked after they end 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 times 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 and 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 experiencing abuse
- Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t 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
- Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision
- Ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, 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
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).
I’m worried about someone else (opens in a new tab)