It is impossible to know for certain what is happening in someone else’s relationship. It can be very difficult if you are worried and you may feel helpless, particularly if the suspected victim is reluctant to discuss it or denies that there is a problem.
There are a number of warning signs of domestic abuse. If you witness any of these signs in a friend, family member or colleague, it is important that you take them seriously. It can take as many as 35 incidents of domestic abuse before someone seeks help for themselves.
If they do tell you what is happening you must listen, remain calm and reassure them. Remember you may be the first person they have told.
The first sign to look for if you're worried about somebody being in an abusive relationship is isolation. Are they seeing less of people they care about? Have they begun to restrict their activities so they're mostly spending time with the suspected abuser?
There are other signs to look out for, including:
- Seeming afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Going along with everything their partner says and does
- Checking in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receiving frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talking about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
In this situation it is important that you act on your concerns. This may include talking to the person about your concerns and reassuring them that they have your support. If the suspected abusive relationship involves children directly or indirectly and you are concerned for their safety, contact Children's Services at Middlesbrough Council or ring Harbour (03000 20 25 25) or My Sister’s Place (01642 241864) for advice and information.
If you are an immediate family member and have concerns about domestic abuse you can also apply for information under Clare’s Law. You can do this by visiting your nearest police station or calling 101.
If you're worried that a child may be suffering, or is likely to suffer from, harm as a result of domestic abuse, please contact Children's Services using the relevant contact details:
Office hours contact: 01642 726004
Out of hours contact: 08702 402994
For less urgent situations please complete the safer referral form before contacting Children's Services.
For advice and support, contact Harbour (03000 20 25 25) or My Sister’s Place (01642 241864).