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It can be hard to know when behaviour within a relationship has become abusive, but this list of questions taken from the UK government website is a good guideline:

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other
    essential things?

Threats and intimidation

Does your partner ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways: Does your partner ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they’re male or female: Does your partner ever:

  • touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

If your partner has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape. Have you ever felt afraid of your partner?
Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do?

What signs to look for

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn, or being isolated from family and friends
  • having bruises, burns or bite marks
  • having finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food or pay bills
  • not being allowed to leave the house, or stopped from going to college or work
  • having your internet or social media use monitored, or someone else reading your texts, emails or letters
  • being repeatedly belittled, put down or told you are worthless
  • being pressured into sex
  • being told that abuse is your fault, or that you’re overreacting

If you are worried about a friend

If you are concerned that a friend is being abused, let her know that you have noticed that something seems wrong, but be careful not to push her to talk if she is not ready. Our instinct is often to step in and intervene, but this can dangerous for you and her. Knowing that you care and are there when she is ready talk is hugely important.

If you hear or see an assault or think your friend is in immediate danger, you should call the police on 999

Supporting someone you love