Warning signs that someone may be in an abusive relationship:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Avoiding contact with friends and family
  • Declining invitations to social events
  • Appearing stressed often with physical symptoms
  • Sudden changes in behaviour
  • Defends the abuser and minimalises or justifies his/her actions 
  • Increased sickness from work
  • Hypersensitive to noise or sudden movements
  • Perpetrator contacting them excessively at work

Clare’s Law

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend who had a history of violence against women. The scheme allows you to ask about the information held on a person in relation to domestic abuse offences and convictions. Visit https://www.lincs.police.uk/reporting-advice/domestic-abuse/domestic-violence-disclosure-scheme-dvds-clares-law/  for more information and to make an application or call the police on the non-emergency number 101.

If someone is being physically abused, they will likely have frequent bruises or physical injuries consistent with being punched, choked, or knocked down—and they’ll likely have a weak or inconsistent explanation for these injuries.

Some signs of physical abuse include:

  • Black eyes
  • Bruises on the arms
  • Busted lips
  • Red or purple marks on the neck
  • Sprained wrists

It’s also common for someone to try to cover up the physical signs with clothing. For example, you may notice that someone you care about is wearing long sleeves or scarves in the hot summer. Wearing heavier than normal makeup or donning sunglasses inside are also common signs of domestic abuse.

Domestic Abuse, of course, can take a serious emotional toll, creating a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or despair. Domestic Abuse can cause people to believe that they will never escape the control of the abuser. They may also exhibit a constant state of alertness to the point they never can completely relax.

Other emotional signs of abuse include:

  • Agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension
  • Changes in sleep habits (sleeping too much or not enough)
  • Developing a drug or alcohol problem
  • Extremely apologetic or meek
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Seeming fearful
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Talking about or attempting suicide

These symptoms, of course, could be due to many other conditions or factors, but they are typical of Domestic Abuse victims who feel they are trapped in an abusive relationship.

If you notice that someone who was once outgoing and cheerful has gradually become quiet and withdrawn, it could be a sign of Domestic Abuse.

You may notice that the person:

  • Becomes reserved and distant
  • Begins isolating themselves by cutting off contacts with friends and family members
  • Cancels appointments or meetings with you at the last minute
  • Drops out of activities they would usually enjoy
  • Exhibits excessive privacy concerning their personal life or the person with whom they’re in a relationship
  • Is often late to work or other appointments

People who are being abused may seem anxious or nervous when they are away from the abuser, or they may seem overly anxious to please their partner. If they have children, the children may seem timid, frightened, or extremely well-behaved when the partner is around.

Although victims may not talk about the actual abuse, they might refer to the abuser as “moody” or having a bad temper. They may reveal that the partner is particularly bad-tempered when drinking alcohol.

Sometimes, the fear a victim of abuse experiences is so intense they feel paralysed to make decisions or to even protect themselves or their children. When the fear gets to that point, they will even turn down help offered to them by friends, family, or even professional protective services.

Domestic Abuse is not about violence, it’s all about control. If you notice that someone seems to be controlled or extremely manipulated in all areas of their life, it could be a sign they are being abused at some level.

Here are some examples of control:

  • Asking permission to go anywhere or to meet and socialise with other people
  • Constant calls, texts, or tracking by their partner wanting to know where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with
  • Having very little money available to them, not having access to a credit card, or having to account for every penny spent
  • Not having access to a vehicle
  • Referring to their partner as “jealous” or “possessive,” or always accusing them of having affairs
  • Fear of the repercussions 
  • Lack of resources / finances
  • Nowhere to go
  • Lack of self worth / belief in self 
  • Family responsibilities and values
  • Feelings and beliefs 
  • Leaving family / friends / Pets behind
  • They still love him / her
  • They (the abuser) said they were sorry / maybe they’ll change

When Domestic Abuse of any form is taking place in a home, it’s in the victim’s best interest to get out and seek help if they feel that it is safe to do so.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for every victim in every situation.

There are times when the abuser has manipulated and threatened the victim enough, to where they feel isolated and trapped.

The victim is left fearing for not only their lives, but the lives of their children, their pets, or financial wellbeing.

To an outsider, most don’t understand the victim’s situation and their thought process, wondering why they just don’t leave their abuser.

From the outside, it may look like the obvious and logical solution, but to the victim, it’s much more complex than that.

Here’s why many Domestic Abuse victims don’t leave.

There is a huge list of reasons as to why a victim might not be willing to leave their abuser. For starters, some victims know and are aware of what their abuser is capable of, and any thought of escaping abuse is more like a death sentence.

They may have also been threatened by their abuser to never leave or something horrible may happen.

It’s this gripping fear that keeps a victim from escaping Domestic Abuse and their situation. They may be afraid that their abuser will further try and hurt or kill them, or their children may possibly be hurt or killed.

Victims worry about the wellbeing of their pets, the custody of their children, suffering financial ruin, and so on. 

There are other invisible barriers that keep women of Domestic Abuse from leaving their abusive situations. Here are a few of them.

  • There is a real fear that the abuser will use violence that is lethal if the victim decides to leave.
  • Some people simply have family members or friends that don’t support their decision.
  • People may look to the hardships of single parenting and the financial strain that can take place, which is another setback.
  • At times, victims may be unaware of the help and support that they could be getting.
  • The victim may experience a confusion of emotions because of good memories mixed with bad ones with the abuser.
  • There is also the fear of their children being hurt or killed by the abuser, or that they might lose custody of their children.
  • If the victim doesn’t have any way of taking care of themselves, whether it’s with a job, savings, a bank account, or assets.
  • Some victims feel that they have nowhere to turn to in order to find help.
  • Due to their beliefs or religion, they may feel that they can’t leave or divorce their spouse.
  • Afraid that they and their children could end up homeless.
  • There might also be the false assumption that a household with two parents is better than one, even if Domestic Abuse is present.