domestic abuse warning signs

If you’re reading this page, chances are, you’re worried about a friend or relative you think might be being abused.

If the behaviour has been severe enough to alert an outsider, it’s likely that there’s even more going on that you haven’t seen, so your loved one is going to really need your support right now.

Take a look at our helping a friend or relative page for more about what you can do.


Are they being abused?

There are several warning signs that might indicate someone you know is living with an abusive partner. We’ve listed some of them here:

  • Their partner insults them in front of other people

  • They’re always worried about making their partner angry

  • They make excuses for their partner’s behaviour

  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive

  • Their partner sulks when they don’t get their own way

  • Their partner seems to make all the decisions

  • Their partner accuses them of flirting or having affairs

  • Their partner controls the finances and they have to account for everything they spend

  • Their partner is constantly calling, texting or messaging – keeping tabs on where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing

  • They have unexplained marks, bruises or other injuries

  • They wear clothing that isn’t appropriate for the weather – such as long sleeves or scarves in summer or sunglasses when it’s cloudy – to conceal their physical injuries

  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family

  • They’ve been drinking more or have started using drugs, which is out of character

  • They have low self-esteem or are overly apologetic

  • They’re depressed or anxious – or you’ve notice changes in their personality. Has your usually cheerful and outgoing friend become quiet, withdrawn or distant lately?

  • They’re flaky. Has your friend or relative started cancelling activities at the last minute or making up excuses for not being able to meet up? It could be a sign that their partner is becoming increasingly controlling about where they go and who they see

  • They complain that their partner is “moody” or has a bad temper. They might not use the term “abuse,” but anger, aggression and violence (even when alcohol fuelled) are signs of domestic abuse.

If you think your friend or family member is being abused, be supportive. The person being abused may not be ready or able to leave the relationship right now.

They might even tell you nothing is wrong. It’s also highly likely that they’ll blame themselves. Take a look at our understanding abuse and FAQs pages to find out more. Contact us now if you need to talk.