It can be difficult to spot when a friend is in a relationship involving domestic violence. Especially when domestic violence often slowly escalates over a long period of time. However, there are some things to look out for if you are concerned for a friend. If you have a friend or family member who you believe may be a victim of a domestic violence relationship, they may show signs of the following:
- They may act defensive, withdrawn, shaky, and overly emotive or protective of their partner.
- They may appear on edge or react by demonstrating extreme anger or frustration at menial situations as they cannot properly express their emotions.
- They may alter their appearance and clothing style by choosing to wear loose or long clothing to cover their arms, shoulders and legs to conceal physical harm.
- The victim may make excuses for not turning up to social events as their partner may not allow them to socialise or prevent them from socialising with certain persons whom they do not like or approve of, this is all part of their dominant and controlling behaviour.
- The victim may demonstrate an inability to afford items or is conscious of paying as this is an exertion of control over their finances and seeking to keep them bound to the home.
- The victim may seem distant, struggle to concentrate and be cautious to provide details on their life, giving vague answers.
Victims of domestic violence are slowly broken down by the continual control and dominance of their partner which results in them slowly losing their sense of self. This toxic relationship will affect their self-esteem and the way they interact with others.
As a close friend or family member, it is important to encourage them to seek help so that they are aware of the options available in order to leave and change their current circumstances.
If you know someone who is in a relationship and is showing any of the signs of domestic violence and needs legal advice, please contact Andrea Harrold at email@example.com.
This is not legal advice.
Below are some links to support services for those going through domestic violence:
Phone: 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) - The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence counselling service for people to discuss their circumstances and receive help.
Website: NSW Family and Community Services - information about safety planning, domestic violence and legal assistance to support victims.
Lisa Harnum Foundation - a community service for women in the Hills, directing them to transitional housing, counselling and safe rooms, among other ways to help.
NSW Justice and Attorney General worksheet - general information and guidance for safety procedures