Am I experiencing domestic abuse?

  • Are you afraid of your partner?
  • Do you feel isolated, bullied or belittled?
  • Does your partner try to keep you from seeing friends or family?
  • Does your partner constantly check up on you?
  • Does your partner regularly criticise or insult you?
  • Does your partner physically hurt you?
  • Do you feel as if you are walking on egg shells?
  • Do you change your behaviour to avoid triggering an incident?
  • Does your partner threaten you or your children?
  • Does your partner control the money?
  • Does your partner force you to have sex?
  • Does your partner make do things you really don't want to do?
  • Does your partner accuse you of flirting or being unfaithful?
  • Does your partner say you are useless and couldn’t cope without them?
  • Has your partner ever deliberately damaged your possessions?
  • Do your partner's sudden changes of mood dominate the house?
  • Are you afraid of making your own decisions?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions then you may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Please talk to someone you trust about it — a friend, your health visitor, your GP — or call a helpline (numbers listed in the sidebar on this page). You do not have to give your name but get advice. There is also lots of information on this website that can help you.

Here is an American video on the subject of domestic abuse about recognising the problem:

It is important for you to know that:

  • people will believe you
  • you are not alone
  • it is not your fault
  • you have the right to feel safe and live free of abuse.

Clare's Law (Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme)

In 2009, Clare Wood was killed by George Appleton,  a man with a known history of violence towards women. Clare's bereaved father Michael Brown's  grim determination contributed towards a law that could have saved his daughter’s life. His aim was to help to prevent a repeat of what happened to Clare.

Since 2014, Clare’s Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them. Under Clare’s Law, a member of the public can also make enquiries into the partner of a close friend or family member- this is the Right to Ask. Professionals who have concerns for a client or indeed a police officer themselves can apply under the Right to Know. The aim of this scheme is to give members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires about an individual who they are in a relationship with or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.

If police checks show that the individual has a record of abusive offences, or there is other information to indicate the person you know is at risk, the police will consider sharing this information with the person(s) best placed to protect the potential victim. Your local police force will discuss your concerns with you and decide whether it is appropriate for you to be given more information to help protect the person who is in the relationship with the individual you are concerned about. The scheme aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship, and provides help and support to assist the potential victim when making that informed choice.

Many police forces have advice on their websites such as: Thames Valley Police; the Metropolitan Police and Devon & Cornwall Police to name a few. The Devon & Cornwall Police do also publish and easy to read guide to the process.

You can contact your local police by phoning 101 and they can advise you further.