Three key warning signs of domestic and family violence to look out for

Challenge DV wants to help you recognise the signs of domestic and family violence.

May 02, 2024, updated May 02, 2024

May marks the start of Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month in Queensland – a time designed to help raise awareness for this increasingly pertinent public health issue. We’ve teamed up with Challenge DV to outline three key warning signs to help you recognise abuse – and help put an end to domestic and family violence. By broadening our understanding of domestic abuse and violence, we’re equipped with the knowledge and tools to help the over 3.6 million Australians most affected.

Behavioural changes
Due to the nature of domestic and family violence, changes in behaviour are common signs of abuse. Domestic and family violence takes place when abuse is used to maintain power and control over an individual – and this dynamic can affect how the person shows up to social settings.

A friend, relative or colleague experiencing domestic violence may withdraw and isolate themselves from the activities they used to enjoy or may appear anxious, depressed or lacking confidence when they’re usually relaxed and upbeat. In some cases, they may have poor hygiene or personal care. When their partner or family member is around, they may come off frightened – like they’re walking on eggshells to keep the peace.

Limited independence
Dominance is a core component of how domestic violence operates and tends to result in possessive behaviour or limited independence. If someone you know is receiving constant calls or texts questioning their whereabouts or making remarks that suggest control over who they see, what they do, and what they wear, that could signify an abusive relationship. This control can extend to individuals having limited access to money as well as social media and medical assistance.

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Injuries with unlikely explanations
Individuals facing domestic abuse or family violence may be unwell or injured – without a likely explanation. In these cases, a person might be unable to explain the cause of their injuries or their explanations might seem inconsistent or shaky. Injuries and sickness might be downplayed or hidden with make-up or unseasonal clothing, to hide any physical signs of abuse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, find help here.

Challenge DV believes that a domestic-and-family-violence-free future relies on us working together to ensure everyone feels safe in their home. By increasing awareness of this silent epidemic, we can help individuals feel empowered to access the support they need. To recognise Domestic and Family Violence Prevention month, Challenge DV is hosting its annual Darkness to Daylight event – challenging Brisbane with a range of running and walking events in May. Learn more and join the fight towards a violence-free future here.


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