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How can I tell if my friend is experiencing domestic violence?

If you are worried that a friend may be experiencing domestic violence, there are signs that you can look out for. These signs may be subtle at first, but over time they may become more obvious.

Some of the signs:

  • Does she change her behaviour in front of her partner?
  • Does she seem nervous when she’s with her partner? As if she’s walking on egg-shells?
  • Have you noticed that she seems less confident – not her usual bubbly self?
  • Does her partner text or call constantly when she is out with you?
  • Has she started to cancel plans at the last minute, or is she making excuses not to spend time with you?
  • Does she constantly apologise for his behaviour?
  • Have you noticed bruises or injuries? Were you convinced by her explanations?
  • Has she changed her appearance? For example, does she dress more conservatively than she used to, or has she stopped wearing makeup
  • Has she changed the way she uses social media sites like Facebook? Does she post fewer status updates or send fewer messages than she used to?
  • Has she made unusual changes to her profile, like taking down old pictures or deleting friends?
  • Has she been taking more time than usual off sick from work?
  • Does she seem tense or anxious – is she less happy and cheerful than she used to be?

Signs that he might be controlling her:

  • Does she say that he is jealous and possessive?
  • Does he cut her off from her friends and family – is he trying to isolate her?
  • Does he insist on picking her up and dropping her off wherever she goes? Does he get angry or unreasonably annoyed if she is slightly late?
  • Does he criticise her or put her down in front of friends?
  • Does he make it difficult for you to spend time alone together or create a bad atmosphere when you’re around? Does he invite himself to girls’ nights out or butt in when you’re having a conversation? Do you sense that he is there when you’re on the phone with her?
  • Is he constantly posting on her Facebook page? Has she told you, or do you suspect, that he has access to her Facebook account?
  • Have you seen him lose his temper over something that seemed minor?
  • Does he control the money in the relationship?

If your friend is afraid to be herself, or avoids doing things because she is afraid of her partner’s reaction, she is being abused.

Find out more about how to support her