Recognising domestic violence[1]

A woman experiencing domestic violence may display one or more of the following characteristics:

  • She may have frequent physical injuries – bruises, broken bones, wrist or ankle sprains, cuts
  • She may usually wear very concealing clothing in order to hide bruising and injuries
  • She may be unable to talk on the phone for any length of time and make excuses to finish the conversation quickly
  • She may stop seeing family and friends and makes excuses for not attending family gatherings
  • She may often be without money
  • She may have inconsistent or implausible explanations for her injuries
  • She may appear quiet, afraid to speak, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, continually devalue herself. She may have no self-confidence
  • She may appear to be under the control of her partner
  • She may be socially isolated, reluctant/unable to participate in community activities/events, unable to go to work or to study and she may always be seeking her partner’s permission before committing to activities
  • She may appear fearful
  • She may look stressed and worn out
  • She may become defensive if people express concern about her well-being
  • Her partner may ridicule her or put her down in front of others

A child who has experienced domestic violence may:

  • Appear tired and stressed
  • Be distracted and unable to concentrate at school
  • Be withdrawn and isolated, emotionally detached and unavailable
  • Be hyper-vigilant and watchful
  • Experience physical symptoms such as stomach ache, head ache
  • Be restless, emotionally distraught and have difficulty managing stress or tension
  • Be abusive and aggressive (eg with siblings, peers or parents)

[1] Source of information: Queensland Domestic Violence Services Network 2002, “Reaching Out- a domestic violence information session for family and friends”.