Anybody can experience domestic abuse. Find out how to recognise the signs.
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Anybody can be affected by domestic abuse and anybody can be an abuser. "Domestic violence is very common," says Teresa Parker from Women's Aid, a national charity working to end the problem. "Anyone can experience it, irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, class, disability or lifestyle."
Almost a third of domestic violence and abuse starts during pregnancy. If it starts before pregnancy, it can get worse over the nine months. Whatever your situation, you can get help and support for domestic violence.
How do I know if I am experiencing abuse?
If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.
- Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
- Has your partner prevented you from continuing or starting a college course, or from going to work?
- Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?
- Does your partner accuse you unjustly of flirting or of having affairs?
- Does your partner constantly belittle or humiliate you, or regularly criticise or insult you in front of other people?
- Are you ever scared of your partner?
- Have you ever changed your behaviour because you're afraid of what your partner might do or say to you?
- Has your partner ever deliberately destroyed any of your possessions?
- Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you or your children?
- Has your partner ever kept you short of money so you're unable to buy food and other necessary items for yourself and your children?
- Has your partner ever forced you to do something that you really didn't want to do, including sexually?
If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there are lots of people who can help you. Find out where to get help and support for domestic violence.
If you need help call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline.
Article provided by NHS Choices