Signs & Symptoms

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault occur throughout all levels of society and in every racial, ethnic, and religious group. There is no evidence to suggest that any income level, occupation, social class, or culture is immune to these crimes.


Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Can you answer yes” to any of the following questions?

Are you frightened by your partner’s temper?

Are you afraid to disagree?

Are you constantly apologizing for your partner’s behavior, especially when your partner has treated you badly?

Do you have to justify everything you do, every place you go or every person you see, just to avoid your partner’s anger?

Does your partner’s behavior get blamed on you, stress, drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s temper?

Has your partner hit or hurt the children?

Has your partner been cruel to an animal?

Does your partner put you down then tell you that he/she loves you?

Have you ever been threatened, shoved hit, kicked or had things thrown at you?

Have you been forced into having sex when you didn’t want to?

Do you not see friends or family because of your partner’s jealousy and possessiveness?

Are you afraid to break up or leave because your partner has threatened to hurt you or to commit suicide if you do?

Warning Signs of Potential Abusers

Pushes for Quick Involvement.
Comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone.” Checks the mileage on your car or monitors your emails or texts.

If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

Unrealistic Expectations.
Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.

Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car, or try to prevent you from holding a job.

Blames Others For Problems Or Mistakes.
It’s always someone else’s fault if something goes wrong.

Makes Others Responsible For His Or Her Feelings.
The abuser says, “You made me angry,” instead of “I am angry,’ or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you to do.”

Is easily insulted claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.

Cruelty To Children or Animals.
Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper); may tease them until they cry or degrade them (stupid, ugly, no good). Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse children.

Safety In Your Own Home

Change Your Locks.
Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Install additional locks and safety devices for your windows.

Plan With Your Children.
Discuss a safety plan with your children. Inform caregivers. Inform your children’s school, daycare, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children. Establish a “code” word or signal with your children.

Let Your Neighbors Know.
Inform your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call law enforcement if they see your partner near your home. Have someone stay with you if possible.

Safety At Work & In Public

Get Help.
Decide who you will inform at work of your situation. This should include office or building security (provide a picture of your batterer, if possible).

Screen Calls.
Arrange to have someone screen telephone calls, if possible.

Use Caution When You Leave Work.
Devise a safety plan for leaving work. Have someone escort you to the car, bus or train.  Use a variety of routes to go home, if possible, and vary your routine. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.

Safety With A Protective Order

Keep The Order With You.
Keep your protective order on your person at all times. Call law enforcement if your partner breaks the protective order.

Take Special Care When You Leave.
Abusers try to control their victims’ lives. When an abuser feels a loss of control – like when a victim leaves – the abuse often gets worse.

Stay Safe While Waiting.
Think of ways to be safe if law enforcement does not respond right away. Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.

Safety and Emotional Health

Seek Medical Help.
If injured, see a doctor. If urgent, call 911, or go to the emergency room. HAVEN can provide Hospital accompaniment (919.774.8923).

Going Back.
If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.

Communicating With Your Partner.
If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do that.  Communication with a record (email or text) can be safer and provide evidence of the conversation. Face-to-face communication can be safer with a witness or advocate by your side.

Read books, articles, and poems which will encourage you and help you feel empowered.

Open Up.
Decide whom you can call to talk freely and openly to get the non-judging support you need. HAVEN provides welcoming, listening support should you need it.

Seek Individual Counseling.
These services can provide support and help you understand more about yourself and the relationship. Contact HAVEN (919.774.8923) for guidance.