In a respectful partnership, arguments or disagreements will occur, but both partners feel free to state their opinions, make their own decisions and feel safe to say no to sex.
In an abusive relationship, one partner controls the other through physical harm, criticisms, demands, threats, or sexual pressure.
The following are some signs that might alert you that someone you know may be affected by domestic and family violence:
- You notice changes in her or her children’s behaviour. She appears frightened or anxious
- She seems afraid or nervous around her partner, or needs to constantly ‘keep the peace’
- She may have unlikely injuries or bruises or is often ‘not well’ or having ‘silly’ accidents
- She may miss work or cancel arrangements with short notice or vague excuses
- Her partner controls all aspects of her life: – finances, friends, work and social life
- Her partner may also be overly possessive or jealous
- Her children seem fearful or on edge in his company or at the mention of his name
It can be hard to know what to do for the best, and often people are reticent to bring up what is often thought to be a very ‘private, family or intimate’ matter.