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Noticing the signs of domestic abuse

Domestic abuse comes from the abusers desire for power and control over the victim.  It can happen to anyone, yet is often overlooked, excused or denied.  Abusers use intimidation, shame, fear, guilt and threats to wear you down and keep you ‘under the thumb’.  Noticing and acknowledging the signs of abuse is the first step towards ending it.


Domestic abuse often escalates from verbal abuse and threats to physical violence or even murder.  While physical injury is an obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences can also be extremely severe.


Nobody should live in fear of someone they love, or feel they have to constantly watch what they say or do to avoid their partner ‘kicking off’.  If you recognise the following warning signs for yourself, or for someone you know, there is confidential help and support available from the Leeds Domestic Violence Service by calling 0113 246 0401.


There are many signs of domestic abuse, including, but not solely comprising of, the following:



Shouting, name calling, accusations

Blaming you for their abusive behaviour

Denying the abuse is happening

Accusations of having affairs/flirting

Putting you down or criticising you in front of family/friends

Lying to you or withholding information from you

Enforcing trivial demands, e.g. meals at exact times, insisting things are put & kept in place, cleaning things which are already clean

Creating false profiles on social media



Telling you who you can and can’t see or where you can go

Stopping you from seeing family and friends

Preventing you from working or going to college

Locking you in the house or cutting you off from the outside world

Limiting your access to money, the phone, the car etc.



Monitoring phone calls/social media/emails

Following you and/or checking up on you

Accompanying you everywhere you go


Physical abuse and violence

Pushing, hitting, slapping & punching or any other physical harm

Withholding food, medication or mobility aids

Controlling use of your alcohol or drugs

Suffocation or strangulation

Constantly waking you up when you are asleep

Not letting you rest when you are ill


Sexual abuse

Using force, threats or intimidation to make you have sex or perform sexual acts

Degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation

Refusing to practice safe sex

Assaulting you while you are pregnant

Making you pregnant against your wishes/not letting you use birth control

Unwanted touching or kissing

Forcing you into prostitution or sex work


Financial/Economic abuse

Keeping control of the all finances & refusing to give you money

Taking out loans/finance/mobile phones etc. in your name

Asking for an explanation of how every penny is spent

Sabotaging your job, e.g. by making you late, constantly phoning or turning up at work

Making you beg for money

Taking money from your purse without asking



The abuser using their physical size to intimidate you

Threats to harm or kill you, themselves, children or other family members

Threats to damage or destroy your possessions or your home

To leave you, or to find you if you leave them

Using anger or threats to frighten you into doing when they want

Saying if they can’t have you, nobody can have you


Occasional indulgences

Following an incident of violence, an abuser may give small nice gesture or treat such as: Apologising promising it will never happen again or buying a gift.


Apologies or kind gestures between incidents of abuse can make it difficult to leave an abusive relationship.  They may make you believe that you are the only person who can help them and that things will be different in the future.


If you are being abused, you are not alone and you don’t have to deal with it on your own.  There is help and support available for you.  The abuse is not your fault.


Remember, abusers can control their behaviour – they do it all the time.  They don’t abuse everyone in their life, instead they save it for the person or people closest to them; the ones they claim they love.  They do usually manage to control themselves in public or until nobody else is around to see their abusive behaviour.



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