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Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

It is common to face conflict with our partners from time to time. However, what distinguishes abuse from “normal” conflict is power imbalance and control. In an abusive relationship, one partner wields power and attempts to control the other partner. 

Below are some questions to help gauge whether your friend may be in an abusive relationship. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, this could be a warning sign of domestic violence.

  • Does your friend have unexplained bruises or cuts?
  • Does your friend make excuses for their partner’s behaviour?
  • Does your friend’s partner call or text them all the time? Are they afraid of missing phone calls or text messages from their partner?
  • Does your friend meet you, other friends or their family less and less?
  • Does the partner accuse your friend of flirting or cheating, without reason?
  • Does it seem like your friend won’t make a decision without checking with their partner first? Do they seem really worried about their partner’s reaction?
  • Have you noticed your friend behaving differently — eg. dressing, acting, or speaking differently? Do you think they may feel pressured by their partner to look or behave a certain way?
  • Does your friend change the way they act to avoid accusations of cheating from their partner? Does it seem like their partner is often jealous for little reason?
  • Does your friend look like they are always walking on eggshells to avoid getting into a fight with their partner? Have you sensed that your friend is afraid of their partner’s reaction?
  • Does the partner humiliate, criticise, or insult your friend?
  • Does the partner force your friend to do things against their will?
What you can do
  • Listen to your friend and do not judge. Assure them that the abuse isn’t their fault.
  • Ask your friend what they would like to do and respect their choices.
  • Share with them the WAO Hotline (03 7956 3488) or SMS/WhatsApp line (018 988 8058).
  • If your friend would like to take action, you can accompany them to the police station to make a police report.
  • If your friend is injured and wants medical care, you can accompany them to the “One Stop Crisis Centre” located in the emergency room of government hospitals.
  • If you are unsure how to respond, you can call us at 03 7956 3488 or SMS/WhatsApp 018 988 8058 for guidance.
  • Please also look at other sections:
What you should avoid
  • Do not confront your friend’s partner.
  • Do not judge or criticise your friend for staying in the relationship.
  • Do not force your friend to leave the relationship or their house immediately, unless there is an immediate threat of danger to your friend and their children.
  • Make sure you can have a conversation with your friend in a safe, private place. Keep in mind that the partner may have access to your friend’s mobile phone or computer; please be careful when sharing information over text or email.
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