Watch for Warning Signs of Relationship Violence

The Basics
Controlling or violent relationships usually get worse over time. If your partner might be controlling or abusive, it’s better to get help now than to wait.

Take Action!
Plan for your safety. Know what to pack if you decide to leave your partner.

Start Today: Small Steps

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The Basics

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It can be hard to know if your relationship is headed down the wrong path. While it’s not always easy to spot the warning signs of relationship violence, there are things you can do to recognize unhealthy relationships and get help before they become violent.

If you think your partner might be controlling or abusive, it's important to:

If your partner is controlling or abusive, it’s better to get help right away. Controlling or violent relationships usually get worse over time.

Remember: if your partner hurts you, it’s not your fault.

What is relationship violence?

Relationship violence is when one person in a relationship is abusive or controlling toward the other person. In some relationships, both partners act in abusive or controlling ways.

Relationship violence is also called dating violence, domestic violence, or intimate partner violence. It can include:

If you feel controlled by or afraid of your partner – even if you haven’t been hurt physically – get help. There are experts who can help you figure out what to do next.

How do I know if my relationship is healthy?

In healthy relationships, both partners take responsibility for their actions and work together to sort out problems. In a healthy relationship:

How do I know if my relationship might become violent?

Relationship violence can start slowly and be hard to recognize. For example, when people first start dating, it’s common to want to spend a lot of time together. But your partner asking you to spend less time with other people can also be a sign that your partner is trying to control your time.

Ask yourself these questions:

Get more information about the signs of abusive relationships.

What if I’m not sure if my relationship is violent?

It’s okay if you aren't sure – you can still get help.

If you have questions about your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224) or  chat online External Links Disclaimer Logo with a person trained to help. The hotline and chat are free and available 24/7. You don’t even have to give your name.

If you are in danger right now, call 911.

How can relationship violence affect health?

While physical violence can cause physical injuries, the stress of any kind of relationship violence or abuse can also lead to other serious problems. These include:


Take Action!

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Relationship violence is not your fault or responsibility. But if you think your partner is controlling or abusive, there are things you can do.

Make a plan.
If you're in a relationship with someone who is violent or might become violent, make a safety plan. This is important whether you are planning to leave your partner or not.  Use this form to make a safety plan [PDF - 32 KB]. External Links Disclaimer Logo

If you are planning to leave your partner,  pack the important things on this list.

Protect yourself online.
When you look at information online, your computer keeps a record of sites you’ve visited. And when you make calls or send text messages from a cell phone, the phone stores that information.

Follow these technology and social media safety tips External Links Disclaimer Logo if your partner is controlling or abusive.

If you think your relationship is unhealthy or you're worried about your safety, get help now.

Start with a phone call.
If you need help or have questions about your relationship, call the  National Domestic Violence Hotline External Links Disclaimer Logo at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). You'll be able to find a domestic violence agency near you or talk to a counselor over the phone. If you are in danger right now, call 911.

What kind of help can I get?
Domestic violence agencies provide:

Can I get help for free?
Yes. Domestic violence agencies offer free services, like hotlines and counseling. They also help people find resources, like housing or lawyers.

Health insurance plans must cover screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence for all women, under the  Affordable Care Act (the health care reform law). This means you may be able to get screening and counseling at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.

What if I think someone else is in a controlling or violent relationship?
You can use these tips to  help someone in an unhealthy relationship.


Start Today: Small Steps

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