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Indicators Of Domestic Violence


Indicators of Domestic Violence


Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of your race and social class. Domestic violence always happens within an intimate relationship. In over 80% of cases, there perpetrator of the violence is the male partner.

There is no one type of victim, nor is there one type of abuser. Victims can look very different from each other as can abusers. Furthermore, most people experiencing violence in their relationship go to great lengths to hide this from their family, friends, and peers. If you see any of these indicators in yourself or someone you are concerned about, you may wish to talk to others about it or seek help. Below are some of the possible indicators of domestic violence, and these signs may present across different types of abuse (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.).

Injuries and excuses

All injuries leave a mark, but some are more severe than others, and can be due anything from slapping to an injury causing death. If the injuries are easily visible, it could mean that the intent of the abuser is to keep the victim isolated at home, as the victim is often afraid or embarrassed to explain how the injuries occurred. If the injuries are inflicted in places where they won’t show, this could be part of the abusers’ strategy to keep their victim from reaching out to others for fear of not being able to present evidence of the abuse.

Absences from work or school

Frequent absences or tardiness to work or school may occur because the victim has been subjected to physical injury or other traumas related to domestic violence.

Low self-esteem

Abuse is about power and control, and often one of the most effective tactics is to destroy the victim’s sense of self and self-worth.

When in an abusive relationship, the victim may feel as though they are powerless on their own or that they will not be able to survive without their abuser. This creates an impression within the victim that they are better off with the abuser as part of their life. This sense of low self-esteem may only be present in regards to the relationship, as victims can often have confidence and esteem in other aspects of life such as work or in other unrelated activities and relationships.

Personality changes

Sometimes, victims of abuse change their patterns of behaviour around their partner over time. Someone who is normally very outgoing may become quiet and submissive around their partner/abuser, and may feel as though they must walk on eggshells in order to keep their abuser from lashing out or punishing them. Others may begin to engage in unhealthy behaviours such as increased use of drugs or alcohol when with their partner.

Isolation and control

Especially in cases of physical abuse, victims are often isolated as part of a strategy to make the abuser the centre of the victims’ world. Limiting the victim’s access to outside contact (e.g. telephone and internet use) limits the victim’s access to family or friends who could help them escape the situation. Other signs of isolation or control include inability to make decisions for oneself, and negative changes in self-esteem.


If someone you know has a tendency to take all the blame for things that go wrong, for example when sharing stories about events at home, it could be a sign that the person is experiencing some type of emotional abuse.

Fear of conflict

Sometimes, victims who experience powerlessness in their abusive relationships generalize this with other relationships. Normal levels of conflict with family, co-workers or friends can trigger great anxieties and the victims may feel it is easier to submit to others rather than challenge in a healthy manner.

Passive-aggressive behaviour

A common challenge for adults or children who have experience abuse from a loved one is identifying their needs and wants, and expressing them in a healthy manner. They may subconsciously believe that they do not have a right to their feelings, and so will express them in a passive-aggressive way, saying one thing but then channelling the anger or frustration towards something unrelated.

Stress-related problems

Stress-related problems can impact physical health, and may manifest in difficulty sleeping or erratic sleeping patterns. Constant or recurring aches and pains (non-specific), chronic fatigue or headaches, or exacerbation of any typical stress response.

Proper of assessment of possible domestic violence cases can be undertaken by trained professionals, who work with prepared screening tools and assessment methodologies.



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