If you notice someone’s other half is consistently threatening their well-being by what they’re saying, doing, or not doing your friend or family member is likely experiencing domestic abuse…

It can be daunting when you don’t know what to say or how to approach the situation but reaching out may be the step they need. Here’s a few tips on talking to your friend/family about your concerns.

You may be experiencing domestic abuse if your partner: 

  • Is jealous and possessive
  • Is charming one minute and abusive the next
  • Tells you what to wear, where to go, or who to see
  • Constantly puts you down
  • Plays mind games on you and makes you doubt your judgment
  • Controls your money, or makes sure you are dependent on them for everyday things
  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to

Watch out for comments from your friend/family’s partner such as; 

  • “I don’t like that dress, it’s too revealing.”
  • “Cut your hair.”
  • “Why are you wearing so much makeup?”
  • “Why do you have to see your friends tonight? If you loved me, you would stay home with me. “
  • “I thought you were going to cook dinner tomorrow night and Saturday. I don’t want to go out.”

These are strong indicators that your partner is abusive.

Important tips on how to talk to someone you feel may be experiencing abuse:

  • Make sure you speak in private and make it clear you won’t judge.
  • Take them seriously. Listen and believe.
  • Tell them openly you are worried and check in on them often to build their trust and give them support.
  • DON’T try to be the expert, it may put up their defence and come across patronizing. Being heard and empathising will allow them to open up.

Important tips on how to talk to someone you feel may be in this situation:

  • Let them know you are there for them and remind them they are not alone.
  • Give them time. It may take several tries for them to confide in you.
  • Build up her confidence. Tell them they are incredibly strong and resilient for coping with what is happening. Focus on their strengths.
  • Tell them it is not their fault.

If they tell you they’re scared of their partner or is struggling to talk to you, tell them about Refuge. Refuge’s staff provide expert, confidential support for people experiencing domestic abuse.

Refuge is always open, they can call Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for free, confidential support or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.

Illustration by @dozy_rose