What Do You See?
We see vulnerable people. We see potential victims of domestic abuse.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse consists of any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background and also includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
**Call to action**
If you have reason to believe that a friend, family member or neighbour is suffering from domestic abuse, please dial 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively, to provide any information which may aid us in building a case, call 101 or direct your call anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555. You can make a report anonymously to Crimestoppers online.
By having the courage to report your concerns, you are ensuring that the most vulnerable people in society are protected from abuse.
If you are a victim of DA, you can find further information on where to go for help and/or support, as well as the different protection notices or schemes available to you, on our dedicated DA support page. There are also useful links at the bottom of this page.
Support for victims
If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it’s likely you’re a victim of domestic abuse.
Find out more about the options available to you for support at the bottom of this page.
Domestic abuse can be categorised into three main areas:
10 signs of Domestic Abuse
Friends, family and neighbours - please be aware that potential DA victims might display any (or many) of the following signs:
- Injuries – a victim may have bruising, cuts or other physical injuries. They may claim their injuries were self inflicted and accidental.
- Stress – a victim may display physical symptoms related to stress, other anxiety disorders or depression. They may have panic attacks, feel isolated and in extreme cases have suicidal thoughts.
- Absence from work - a victim may be frequently late for work, off work sick on a regular basis or take time off without any notice.
- Personality changes – you may notice personality changes when a victim is around their partner. They may appear more nervous than usual and uneasy in their company.
- Low self-esteem – a victim may express or display low self-esteem or lack of confidence regarding either their relationship or life in general.
- Lack of money – a victim may never seem to have any money because their partner is withholding it from them to control them.
- Stops socialising – a victim may regularly make excuses for not going out with friends, or suddenly pull out of social plans at the last minute.
- A victim's partner might display irrational behaviour – they might be jealous, aggressive or possessive. They may read their emails, check their phone and social media accounts or constantly phone them to check up on them.
- Substance abuse – victims may use alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed drugs like tranquillisers or antidepressants to cope with the abuse.
- Damage to property – there may be damage to the home or property caused by the abuser in an altercation.
If you believe someone may be a victim of domestic abuse, please call 999 in an emergency. Alternatively call 101 to report an incident.
There are many myths around domestic abuse and its causes. We want to encourage the public and our partners to challenge some of the most prevalent misconceptions, including:
Why don't they just leave?
There are many reasons why people may stay in abusive relationships, more often than not it’s because they are frightened to leave. Leaving is difficult and takes time. Victims need support and understanding – not judgement.
Alcohol and drugs makes people violent
Abusers are also violent when sober. Alcohol and drugs can make existing abuse worse, or be a catalyst for an attack, but they do not cause domestic abuse. It should never be used to excuse violent or controlling behaviour.
Abusers grow up in violent homes
Violence is a choice. The abuser alone is responsible for their actions. Although many people may have grown up witnessing domestic abuse, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will inflict abuse on their own partner. It is never an excuse.
Domestic abuse is a private matter
Domestic abuse happens every day all over country, and affects people of all ages (predominantly women), classes and backgrounds. It is a serious, widespread crime. It is not an individual issue but a social problem. We all need to speak out against it.
Sometimes people just lose their tempers
Abusers sometimes say “the red mist” descends and they lose control – but they are very much in control, using various methods to abuse their victim. Abusers rarely act spontaneously when angry. They consciously choose when to abuse their partner: when they are alone and when there are no witnesses.