What does Domestic Abuse look like?

You may have noticed that something is not quite right in a neighbour, friend, colleague, or family member’s relationship. This might be that their partner or a family member is very controlling, that they seem anxious around them, or you may have noticed injuries or bruising.

Many people think that domestic abuse is physical violence within a relationship. Although that may be true of some cases, most involve controlling behaviour, jealousy, putting someone down and isolating them from people close to them.  Many people who are experiencing abuse say that they feel that they are walking on eggshells. There may be no physical violence but that does not make the abuse less harmful or dangerous. Domestic abuse can occur in many different types of intimate or familial relationships; after a relationship has ended and when an adolescent is abusive to a parent. It can affect anyone.

It may be difficult for the person experiencing abuse to know what is happening. They may hope that the abusive person can change or put the behaviour down to increased stress or some other difficulty in their lives. Abusive people will often blame the non-abusive person for their behaviour and can convince people around them, friends, neighbours, and the community, that they are a good person, making it harder for the person experiencing abuse to get help.