Domestic abuse and sexual violence are terrible crimes, and they are sadly common. Wherever you work, if you work with people you are at some point likely to come into contact with someone who is living with or has experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence. This could include a client, a customer or a colleague.

It can be hard to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, especially since many victims hide any physical evidence. There may be changes in their personality or behaviour that is out of character.  Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence regardless of their background, ethnicity, sexual orientation or how they identify.  Here are some signs that could suggest someone is being abused:

  • Unexplained bruises or injuries.
  • Frequent injuries.
  • Feeling and looking very tired.
  • Wearing different clothes, e.g.long sleeves.
  • A general change in their appearance.
  • Constantly receiving text messages or phone calls.
  • No longer having a mobile phone.
  • Going out less.
  • Not going out unaccompanied.
  • Attending appointments with someone else.
  • Not turning up for work.
  • Changing plans and becoming less reliable.
  • Seeming unwilling to make a decision.
  • Not seeing friends and family.
  • Being anxious and unable to relax.
  • Not having any money.
  • Apologising for or making excuses for someone’s behaviour.
  • Drinking more alcohol than usual.
  • Weight loss


Parental conflict

You may come across families where there is an element of conflict between the parents, but where this doesn't seem to be abusive. The impact of parental conflict on a child can have long lasting implications in a similar way to domestic abuse.  However working with the parents to educate them and help them to realise that parents working together will help their child achieve better outcomes is something that the Reducing Parental Conflict project seeks to address.  See the Making a referral section for contact information.  


Types of Abuse

There are many forms of abuse, not all of which are physical. Anyone can be the victim of abuse, or an abuser regardless of their sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, race, religion, financial status, or disability.