Click the red Quick Exit button above to leave this website quickly

How to recognise warning signs

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Most people will experience some difficulties in their relationships, but to know whether a relationship is abusive you should look at how the behaviour of your partner or family member makes you feel. If you feel intimidated, controlled or unable to speak out, that’s abuse.

Sign of an unhealthy relationship or abusive relationship

· I’m feeling more stressed or worried all the time; I feel nauseous or have bad butterflies.

· I feel anxious and stressed in my partner’s presence and scared of how my partner will react to a situation

· I feel a lot more critical of myself

· I give up on my own opinions and think my partner is right about everything

· I have that ‘dreaded’ feeling more often

· I avoid saying something because you don’t want to upset my partner

· I’m feeling a pressure to change who I am or move the relationship further than you want to.

· I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

· I’m staying in more and seeing less of family and friends to avoid arguments with my partner.

· I start believing that I’m unattractive, or lucky to have a partner at all

· They make threats and do things that make me feel frightened

· They put me down just to make me feel bad when we’re alone or around friends

· They criticise me and makes me doubt myself, or doubt things happening around me

· They tell me the abuse is my fault, or that I’m overreacting

· They make me do things that I don’t want to do without listening to me

· They make me feel guilty if I don’t spend time with them, so I don’t have the freedom to do things you want to do

· They don’t try to get on with my friends or family and tell me who I can and can’t see

· They hit, slap or push me

· They look through my phone, emails, letters, social media or web history

· They control my finances and I’m not being given enough to buy food, medication or pay bills

· They want to know where I am all the time or stop me leaving leave my house, or going to college or work

· They cheat on me or accuse me of cheating on them.

· They steal from me or make me buy them things.

· They make me have sex when I don’t want to.


· A trusted family member or friend – remember they might not react in the way you expect as they’re not trained in domestic abuse. However, getting the support of a friend to go with you to a specialist agency can be an important first step

· Call Refuge – 0808 2000 247 this is a 24-hour confidential helpline where you can talk anonymously and ask for general information, advice and guidance

· Call Victim Support – 0808 1689 111

· Visit a pharmacy and ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) which is a codeword scheme that enables victims of domestic abuse to discreetly ask for immediate help in participating pharmacies

· Visit a Safe Space – Retailers Boots, Morrisons pharmacies, Superdrug pharmacies, Well Pharmacies, independent pharmacies, HSBC and TSB banks across the UK provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse. You can use a safe space in whichever way works for you. They provide a safe and discrete way to reach out to friends and family and contact specialist support services. Safe Spaces are open and ready for you to use – find at Safe Space at

· If you are at risk of harm or it is an emergency, you should always call 999

Source: *Women’s Aid/Photo Sydney Sims