Recognise the signs


The term Domestic Violence covers a wide list of violence and abuse against a person and can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused or denied. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it.

One woman in four (and one man in six) in the UK will be a victim of domestic violence during their lifetime, according to research estimates.

Two women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.

We often think of domestic violence as physical with signs such as hitting, slapping and beating but the term domestic violence also includes emotional abuse, forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.

It’s abuse if your partner or a family member or someone you know:

  • Threatens, shoves or pushes you
  • Makes you fear for your physical safety
  • Puts you down or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
  • Controls you and isolates you, preventing you from seeing your friends and family
  • Is jealous and possessive, questioning your actions and being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
  • Gaslights you, making you doubt your own judgement or even your sanity
  • Threatens, frightens or intimidates you

“The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

NHS Choices: provides a list to help you recognise the signs as early as possible and start seeking help. You can find them here.

You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation

  • Seek help – talk to a friend , a relative, your doctor a health visitor or midwife
  • In an emergency, call 999


When you decide to leave

The first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you’re not alone and that it’s not your fault. You can get help and advice from an organisation such as Women’s Aid or Refuge before you go.

If you’re considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It’s important that your abuser doesn’t know where you’re going. Planning is very important. If you decide to leave, it will help to take:

  • Documents, including birth certificates, passports, any medical records, benefits books, and mortgage or rent details
  • Your address book
  • House keys
  • If you have young children: baby items, some clothes and a special toy for each child

 Survivor’s Handbook from the Women’s Aid Charity 

This handbook is free and provides information on a wide range of issues such as housing, money and your legal rights.

The handbook is available as a downloadable PDF in 11 languages. You can find it here.

If you’re not sure who to turn to Collaborative Women can help signpost you to services that can help. 

You can also take a look at our Get Help section to find out more about what we can do.