Abusive Relationships: Know The Signs

Abusive Relationships: Know the Signs

By Swansea University Feminist Society


According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, in the year ending in March 2019 it was estimated that well over two million adults experienced domestic abuse. The government defines domestic abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged over sixteen, who are intimate partners or family members. This can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse, as well as coercive control, harassment and stalking, although this list is not exhaustive. 

Given the serious number of people who are victims of abusive relationships every year, it is important to know the key signs to look out for, in case somebody you know is suffering:

  • Their partner belittles them or puts them down, but blames them for the abuse or arguments
  • They have become isolated from family and friends
  • Their partner exercises controlling behaviour, trying to dictate where the victim goes/what they wear/who they see/what they should think, as well as trying to control their money
  • Their partner threatens to hurt them or themselves, and destroys their personal belongings
  • Their partner makes unreasonable demands on their attention, and accuses them of being unfaithful
  • Their partner reads their personal messages and harasses or follows them when they go out
  • Their partner is physically violent towards them, including during sex
  • Their partner makes unwanted sexual demands and pressures them to have sex, or sex in a way they feel uncomfortable with

If you believe someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there are ways in which you can support them:

  • Let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong, but accept they may not be ready to talk, and try to find quiet times where they can speak if they want to
  • Make sure they know that nobody deserves to be treated the way they are being treated, no matter what their abuser says
  • Support them by encouraging them to express their feelings, but allow them to make their own decisions as to things like leaving the relationship
  • Check if they have suffered physical harm, and if so offer to go with them to the hospital or GP
  • Make sure you have details of organisations which support victims of domestic abuse, such as a helpline or refuge centre
  • Help them report the abuse to the police if they decide to

There are also a number of help-lines and organisations which can help (although if there is an emergency you should always call 999):

  • Swansea University Students’ Union Advice and Support Centre 
  • Swansea University Wellbeing Service
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline (08082000247)
  • Women’s Aid
  • Refuge
  • Shelter
  • Victim Support

Thank you for reading.


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