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How to recognise domestic abuse 

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse – also called domestic violence – can take many forms. It involves controlling, coercive, abusive, or violent treatment from someone you’re in a relationship with, have been in a relationship with, or someone who is a family member.

The abuse can be physical, psychological, verbal, sexual, emotional, or financial. It might be a one-off occurrence but it’s often a series of incidents that occur over a period of time.


Recognising domestic abuse

It’s not always clear whether a person’s actions are abusive and every situation is different, but there are common factors experienced by people who are in an abusive relationship.

If you identify with any of the following, you might be experiencing domestic abuse:

  • Physical abuse

    Does someone:

    • Hit, slap or punch you?
    • Push or pull you around?
    • Throw things at you?
    • Burn or scald you?
  • Emotional abuse

    Does someone:

    • Make you feel guilty or blameworthy for things?
    • Manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do?
    • Do things to upset you out of spite, anger, or other reasons?
    • Tell you what you can and can’t do?
  • Psychological abuse

    Does someone:

    • Belittle or undermine you?
    • Make unfounded accusations about you?
    • Do things to frighten or unsettle you?
    • Isolate or exclude you from meaningful events?
  • Verbal abuse

    Does someone:

    • Threaten you, your friends or family members?
    • Demand to know your whereabouts?
    • Make derogatory comments about you?
    • Swear at you or call you names?
  • Sexual abuse

    Does someone:

    • Make unwanted physical contact with you?
    • Demand that you perform sexual acts against your wishes?
    • Pressurise you to have sex?
    • Force you not to use birth control or to terminate a pregnancy?
  • Financial abuse

    Does someone:

    • Use money to control or influence you?
    • Steal or withhold money from you?
    • Limit your access to money?
    • Demand access to your money or bank account?

If you decide to leave

Recognising you’re in an abusive relationship is the first step in escaping it. Always remember that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. One of the most difficult choices you can make is deciding to leave an abusive relationship. 

If you decide to leave, be careful who you disclose this information to. It’s important that the abuser doesn’t learn of your decision to exit the relationship before it happens or know where you’re going.
  • Before you leave

    Before you leave, give careful thought to any logistical, financial, and living arrangements you need to make. 
  • How can I plan to leave and keep myself safe

    You may find the list below useful to help you prepare:

    • Identify a friend or friends you can trust and safe places you can go to.
    • Create a secret code word to use with friends or family to signal that you are in danger
    • Memorise the phone numbers of any friends or family members you may want to get in touch with after you have left

    You may also find it useful to take with you some items from the list below:

    • Identity documents and important paperwork (e.g. passports, birth certificates, bank account details, bank statements, benefit records, medical cards, marriage certificate, court orders, vehicle log book)
    • Cash and bank cards
    • Phone numbers for use in an emergency, and of personal contacts – make sure your phone is fully charged
    • A spare set of keys for your home and car
    • Medication and toiletries
    • Clothing for a few days
    • Evidence of domestic abuse (e.g. photos, recordings, crime reference numbers)

We offer a range of relationship services to current and former bank employees. Please see below for more support.

More support

  • Relationship breakup

    In this guide we explore the emotions you might be experiencing as well as the practical changes you may be dealing with during or after a breakup.
  • Our support services

    The Bank Workers Charity exists to support current and former bank employees. Find out more about the services and support we provide.

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