Domestic Abuse: The Types of Abuse and Warning Signs

Domestic Abuse is an epidemic that affects both men and women, adults and children. Those suffering from domestic abuse are not the only ones affected, witnessing your loved ones being abused without any way of helping can also be a damaging experience. This blog will shed some light on some of the different types of Domestic Abuse and give some of the signs we can look out for.

Domestic abuse is a problem that has been around for far too long and has claimed too many lives. It is also something that will not go away on its own and more often than not, those suffering from domestic abuse need outside help and/or intervention to break out of the abusive cycle they find themselves trapped in.

Over this past year, Covid-19 has negatively impacted those who suffer from domestic abuse, by increasing their risk of harm with the isolation of thousands of people. The pandemic has not been the cause of the abuse, but it has been a catalyst. With the lockdowns, limitations on travel, work, school and socialising restrictions, adults and children suffering and/or witnessing domestic abuse have had limited access to others who might notice the signs and share their concerns. This has made domestic abuse an ever-increasing problem, with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reporting that between April and June 2020 there was a 65% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.  

 What is Domestic Abuse?

Many people think that physical violence is the only form of domestic abuse, when in fact, it is only one of the different types of abuse that can fall into the category of domestic abuse. Examples of Domestic Abuse can also include (but is not restricted to)

  • Coercive control
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial Abuse

Lisa Flavin, a survivor of Domestic Abuse, explains ‘In many cases Controlling and Coercive behaviour is the foundation of all other types of abuse.’

In a webinar held earlier this year Lisa and fellow survivor Vicky Lang spoke to us about their experiences living through domestic abuse.  Based on their discussion we have highlighted some of the signs to look out for. Enforced by both was that early intervention is key to stopping the cycle of abuse and preventing future abuse.

(We are summarising some of the points that were made, but if you would like to hear their full stories, click here to watch the full webinar.)

Early Intervention is key

With early intervention playing such a key role in helping those who are suffering, knowing the warning signs means we can offer support at this crucial point. However, sometimes it is hard to see the signs of abuse especially when it comes to controlling and coercive behaviour, which can be a precursor to other forms of abuse. This behaviour is subtle and can build over time giving the abuser the chance to manipulate their victim(s). Therefore, it is a form of abuse that easily gets overlooked or unnoticed by friends and family or even the victims themselves.

Some signs to look out for

  • The victim must ask permission to socialise with friends or family
  • Personality changes (from loud and bubbly to shy and reserved)
  • Constantly apprehensive and anxious
  • Less contact with friends and family (out of the norm)
  • Feeling like everything is their fault


Warning signs for other forms of abuse are:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities (isolating themselves)
  • Physical injury (bruises, cuts, broken bones)
  • Self-harm
  • Alcohol or substance problems/abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Low self-esteem
  • Referring to their partners as jealous or possessive
  • Scared to go home

For both Lisa and Vicky, these warning signs were missed and it took a long time until someone finally asked the right questions and actively listened. It was only then that they started to receive the support they needed. To genuinely listen and ask how someone is doing, is a simple way that we can help. As family, friends, teachers, coworkers, etc.… how are we supposed to know if something is wrong unless we pay proper attention to the people around us?

Lisa and Vicky now decide to speak out about the abuse that they faced to try and help others that are suffering to break their cycle of abuse. The more we can talk about hard topics, such as domestic abuse, the more we can learn and help others too. It is also important to note that we need to look out for the signs of domestic abuse in every environment we find ourselves in. Whether it be at work, school, sports club, etc.… Everyone is vulnerable to become the subject of domestic abuse, male or female.

If you want more information about domestic abuse, or you want help for yourself and/or someone you know who may be suffering, follow the links below for helpful information and places that can help those suffering from Domestic Abuse.


Helpful Resources:

Posted Date

26th November 2021

Kelly Ofasi
Marketing Executive

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