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Domestic Abuse and Partner Violence

Find out what you can do if you are experiencing domestic abuse or partner violence or know someone who is.

What is domestic abuse and partner violence? 

Domestic abuse/violence is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.  Some examples of abuse are: 

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional 

What are the signs of domestic abuse and partner violence?

  • Destructive criticism  (shouting, mocking, name calling)
  • Pressure tactics (sulking, withholding money, taking the car away)
  • Disrespect (putting you down, refusing to help, interrupting phone calls)
  • Breaking trust (lying to you, withholding information, breaking promises)
  • Isolation (monitoring phone calls, preventing you from seeing friends and family)
  • Harassment (following you, opening emails, checking your phone)
  • Threats (intimidation, shouting, breaking things, threatening to harm the children)
  • Sexual Violence (using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts)
  • Physical Violence (punching, slapping, hitting, biting, kicking, strangling)
  • Denial (denying the abuse, begging for forgiveness, acting differently in public). 

I think a colleague or friend may be experiencing domestic abuse or partner violence.

There are a variety of signs which might suggest your colleague or friend is enduring coercive control or domestic abuse.  Here are some of the key ones:

  • Obvious physical injury, or bruising in places that you would not normally equate with 'bumping into things'.  
  • The victim suddenly changes their dress style wearing, for example, high necked, long sleeved tops.
  • Changes in behaviour, signs of stress, being jumpy, increased fatigue.
  • Increased presenteeism - staying at work because they don't want to go home.
  • Unusually frequent telephone calls or texts from their partner checking up on them.
  • Frequent absences or tardiness - their partner may have deliberately delayed them coming to work.
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs to cope with the situation.
  • Signs their partner makes all the decisions for them and is overly controlling.

What can I do? 

If you are experiencing domestic abuse/partner violence or you know someone who is, it can be difficult to speak out, but please don't suffer in silence.  You can talk about your situation confidentially in the following ways:

You can also find helpful information, advice and helplines with the following organisations:

Contact Us

Herts SU Advice and Support Centre

Hertfordshire Students' Union

Today 10:00 - 16:00
Our team aims to respond to e-mail queries within 2 working days or less. Pre-booking appointments (either online, via telephone or in-person) is advised.
Hertfordshire Students' Union, College Lane Campus


Student Wellbeing

Today 8,30 - 17:00
Student Wellbeing is closed at weekends and during holiday periods.
Student Wellbeing (Counselling), College Lane

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Office

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Office

Today 09:00 - 17:00

Staff Occupational Health

Occupational Health, Safety, and Workplace Wellbeing

Today 08:30 - 17:00
Occupational Heallth Offices, College Lane

Student Wellbeing

Today 8.30 - 17:00
Student Wellbeing is closed at weekends and during holiday periods.
Hutton Hub, College Lane