Frequently asked questions: The signs of relationship abuse and how to help

know the signs of relationship abuse.

Violence against women is a human rights violation that takes place every single day around the world. Globally, one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. While domestic violence and abuse are sometimes hidden, if we know the signs of an abusive relationship, we may be able to recognize it better and seek or offer help.

What are some common signs of abuse?

  • Your partner keeps track of everything you do. They monitor where you are and whom you are with at all times. They prevent or discourage you from seeing friends, family, or going to work or school.
  • You partner insists that you reply right away to their texts, emails, and calls, and demands to know your passwords to social media sites, email, and other accounts.
  • An abusive partner may act jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating. They may attempt to control how you spend money and your use of medications or birth control. They may make everyday decisions for you, such as what you wear or eat.
  • They may be demeaning. They may put you down by insulting your appearance, intelligence, or interests. They may try to humiliate you in front of others and attempt to destroy your property or things that you care about.
  • An abusive partner may act angry or have a quick or unpredictable temper, so you never know what might cause a problem. They may blame you for their violent outbursts and physically harm or threaten harm to you, themselves, and members of your household, including children or pets.
  • They may hurt you physically, such as hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting. They may use, or threaten to use, a weapon against you.
  • They may be sexually abusive, including rape or other forced sexual activity. They may incorrectly assume that consent for a sex act in the past means that you must participate in the same acts in the future. They may also incorrectly assume that consent for one activity means consent for increased levels of intimacy. For example, an abuser may assume that a kiss should lead to sex every time.
  • An abusive partner may threaten to turn you in to authorities for illegal activity if you report the abuse, or if you resist.

You can talk with someone who has been trained to help by calling a local helpline. Please see a list of resources below.

What are some safety tips if I am experiencing abuse?

If you think you are being abused, seek help. These tips provide guidance on how to find safety and support.

  • Consider sharing your concerns with a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor. Work with them to develop a plan for when you need help. This plan may include, for instance, creating a secret code or multiple code words, sentences, or emojis that would help you communicate more safely with them.
  • Develop an escape strategy, such as saying you need to go to the pharmacy or grocery store and, once there, asking to use the phone to call for help. Think through several plausible reasons for leaving home at different times of the day or night in case you need to escape.
  • If possible, keep a telephone always charged and accessible and know which numbers to call for help: a friend, a family member, or the police. If your life is in danger, call the police if you believe it is safe to do so.
  • Try to identify patterns in your partner’s use and level of violence. This can help you to predict when abuse may escalate.

You can talk with someone who has been trained to help by calling a local helpline. Please see a list of resources below.

What can I do to help someone I know who is experiencing abuse?

If you are concerned about a friend who may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse or feels unsafe around someone, review these tips on how to help them find safety and support.

  • If you are worried about a friend’s safety, stay in touch and be creative. Avoid making the abuser suspicious so that communication lines can stay open. If you both have children, for example, you can suggest joint calls between both yourselves and the kids. You can create secret code words to use in conversations that can help you communicate more safely.
  • Ask your friend how they prefer to connect. It is important to establish a safe communication channel since they will be, in many instances, physically close to the abuser who might be monitoring conversations. Ask them if they prefer an instant message or text over a call, and if there is a specific platform or app they prefer to use.
  • Be supportive and believe them. Reassure them that they are not alone and that help and support are available. Recognize that it may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse. If they want to talk, listen carefully and be empathetic.
  • Help them think through how to stay safe during COVID-19. Help your friend create a plan for lockdown situations. Are there other friends or family they could stay with during this time? Consider helping them to reach out to these people to make a plan.
  • Respect their right to consent. Unless you strongly believe that your friend’s life is in danger, avoid taking actions without their consent. They know the safety risks best, and, therefore, they should be driving any decisions related to the abuse they are experiencing.
  • Respect their privacy. Because of safety issues, stigma, feelings of shame, and victim-blaming that survivors often face, it is critical that their experiences and identity remain confidential, unless they give explicit consent to reveal them.
  • Offer practical assistance and share resources. Let your friend know that you want to help. If you are able, offer them a safe place to stay, transportation, or other forms of support that may increase their safety.

Let your friend know they can talk with someone who has been trained to help. Provide them with information about local services and helplines.

Resources:

Note: UN Women is not responsible for the information provided by external sources.

Country

Hotlines

Helpline and online portal for online violence

Algeria

1527 (Direction de l’Action sociale)  023 35 14 44 or 0560 100 105 (Réseau Wassila AVIFE)

Reporting cybercrimes through the Police’s Crime Division: 17

Reporting online extortion on the Hotline: 1548, 1055

State Security Hotline: 1499642

Bahrain

80008001 (hotline for women subject to domestic violence)

Anti-cybercrime Directorate, General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security at 992 or through WhatsApp messaging on: +973 17108108

 

Filing an online complaint form for cybercrime

Website: https://www.acees.gov.bh/acees-form/

Djibouti

1517 (Centre de Conseil sur les Violences Basées sur le Genre: Union Nationale des Femmes Djiboutiennes)

 

Egypt

 

Complaints Office of the National Council for Women:

Hotline: 15115

Tel: 01126977444 - 01126977333 - 01126977222

Email: complain.office.2001@gmail.com

 

Reporting through the General Prosecution Monitoring Unit. Hotline 108

National Council for Women 15115

Cybercrime Directorate, MOI:

0227926071

0227928484 0227921490

0227921491

General Directorate for Information and Computer Technology

0224065052 -0224065051

Iraq

497 (Community Police)

139 (Family Protection Unit)

119 (Ministry of Interior of Kurdistan Region of Iraq – General Directorate of Combating Violence Against Women (GDCVAW)

Child and Family Protection Directorate, Ministry of Interior (MOI) 131 and 497

Jordan

( 06) 5518189 - The Jordanian national commission for women (http://www.women.jo/)

 (06) 5675729 - Jordanian Women Union

Arab Women Organization - Tel. (077) 074 5997 (https://www.awo.org.jo/)

911, 196 - Public Security Directorate (https://www.psd.gov.jo/)

0796906909/ 0776990930 - Institute for Family Health (IFH) 

080022955- Jordanian National Commission for Women's Affairs (JNCW)

Detailed list in the Pocket Guide for Public Security Directorate Family Protection Department Officers

Cyber Crime Unit, Public Security Directorate 

+962 6 563 3404

Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW)

080022955

Toll-free, 24-7 legal consultation hotline on various issues

Public Security Directorate,
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

cybercrimesjordan/

Email: ecrimes@psd.gov.jo

Email: wcbinfo@jncw.jo

Kuwait

147 (Family Protection Hotline)

012075242 (Committee for Protection from Domestic Violence)

 Cyber Crime Department, Ministry of Interior

+96597283939

Lebanon

1745 (Internal Security Forces)

+961 81 78 81 78 (24/7 ABAAD Helpline)

+961 03 018 019 (KAFA helpline for women victims of violence)

Directory of available services for women experiencing violence in Lebanon.

Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau Number 01/293293

Internal Security Forces online portal:  

https://www.isf.gov.lb/ar/report

Libya

1417 (Psychosocial Support Team and Ministry of Social Affairs)

1417 (Joint hotline by the Ministry of Social Affairs and UNFPA)

The hotline provides legal counselling, psychological support and referral services to victims of violence.

Morocco

8350 (Union Nationale des Femmes Marocaines)

Télécharger aussi l’application Kolonamaak

Fire Department 15 from a landline or 150 from a cellphone

19 (Police)

177 (Gendarmerie Royale)

Recours associatifs et institutionnels disponibles pour les femmes victimes de violence

Police Hotline 19 from a landline and 112 from a cellphone

Commission Nationale de Contrôle de la Protection des données à Caractère Personnel (CNDP) Website :

https ://www.cndp.ma/fr/service-en-ligne/personnes-concernees/plainte-en-ligne.html

Filing an online complaint with the Office of the Public Prosecutor: https://plaintes.pmp.ma/

Filing an online complaint concerning a case of violence against women, which goes directly to the cells within the tribunals : https://vcfemme.pmp.ma/

Oman

1100 (Ministry of Social Development)

Online extortion can be reported to the Economic Crimes division

24569701 – 24563004

Information Technology Agency

Email:info@rop.gov.om, ocert999@ita.gov.om 

Palestine

121 (West Bank and Gaza) or 1-800-500-121 (East Jerusalem) (SAWA)

1800-333-666 in Gaza (WAC Gaza)

1800180160 in Gaza (RCS Gaza)

106 The Palestinian Civil Police Family Protection Unit helpline  

1800151617 Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Society , Gaza Strip,

Directory of services for women experiencing violence in Palestine

No hotline , but victims can file an complaint online with the Palestinian police Anti-cybercrimes Unit in Ramallah

Filing a complaint online with the Palestinian Police Website: https://www.palpolice.ps/contact-awareness-of-cybercrime

 

Qatar

919

AMAN Protection and Rehabilitation Center:

http://www.aman.org.qa/En/Pages/Home.aspx

Cyber Crime Investigation Centre at +974 2347444 or +974 66815757

Reporting an incident to MOI

Email: cccc@moi.gov.qa

Saudi Arabia

1919

Incidents of online extortion can be reported through the Anti-Extortion Authority in the General Presidency of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice:

1909

Report incidents related to cybercrimes through the MOI Absher App:

https://www.absher.sa/wps/portal

Filing a cybercrime complaint online with the Public Security Department on: https://www.my.gov.sa/

wps/portal/snp/servicesDirectory/

servicedetails/6166

Somalia

2181 Run by Northern Frontiers Youth League Mogadishu

+252 63 4112760 MESAF,

+252 63 4409204 WAAPO,

+252 634527135 SOSTAN,

+2524401220 MESAF TOGDHER,

+2524452022 MESAF BORAMA,

+252634433300 MESAF SAHIL,

+252634259492 MESAF WAQOYI GALBEED,

+2524441975 YOVENCO BERBERA,

+25263 4478390 MESAF ERIGAVO,

+25263 4478390 MESAF LAS'ANOD

2004, SWDC - MOGADISHU

UN Gender-Based Violence Hotline in partnership with Somali Women’s Development Center 5555

Sudan

National & Khartoum State - Phone calls:

0930008057 / 0930008061 / 0930008058 0930008059 / 0930008054

National & Khartoum State - WhatsApp:

0930008061 / 0930008062

Other States - Phone calls:

0960609986 / 0113475576 / 0909900559 0907847780 / 0115107555 / 0928097778

Supervisors:

0930008053 / 0930008052

0930008049 / 0930008051

(all run by Combating Violence Against Women Unit (CVAW), Ministry of Labour and Social Development)

 

Syria

9416 (hotline located in the Family Protection Unit under the umbrella of the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs and Population/ SCFAP)

 

Tunisia

1899 (ligne verte contre les violences faites aux femmes en Tunisie)

1809 (ligne verte pour les enfants et familles)

80 105 050 (Médecins volontaires)

Liste des services pour les femmes victimes de violence en Tunisie

Gov. Hotline 1899

United Arab Emirates

Ewa’a Shelter for Women and Children:

Tel: +971 2 558 4812

Email: ewaa@shwc.ae

Hotline: 8007283 - 800SAVE

Website: http://shwc.ae/Default.aspx

Dubai Foundation For Women and Children:

Tel: 04-6060300

Email: help@dfwac.ae

Helpline: 800111

SMS: 5111

Website: https://www.dfwac.ae/

 

Abu Dhabi Police through 8002626

SMS to 8002828

Dubai Police through 8004888, +9718004888 from outside of the UAE

 

Reporting an incident through the UAE Aman App

 

Filing a complaint through Dubai Police

Website:

https://www.dubaipolice.gov.ae/wps/portal/home/services/

individualservicescontent/

cybercrime?lang=ar

Sharjah Police through Najeed service

800151

SMS to 7999

Yemen

8000202 Psychiatric Care Foundation (PCF)

136 Family Counseling & Development Foundation (FCDF)

776277633 (RH services -Sa'ada)

776010596 (RH services- Ibb )

77277631 ( RH services- Al-Dhalae)

776010588 (RH services- Al-Hudydah)

777550490 /06511345 (GBV services-Dhamar)

772900025 (Women Prisoners services)

8004040 (Child protection)

775388889 (GBV services Sa'ada)

8000999 Yemen Women’s Union GBV Hotline

 

8000084 Ministry of social affair and labor (MOSAL)

8000999 Yemen Women Union (YWU)

8000606 DEEM for Development

8000202 Psychiatric Care Foundation (PCF)

136 Family Counseling & Development Foundation (FCDF)

776277633 (RH services -Sa'ada)

776010596 (RH services- Ibb )

77277631 ( RH services- Al-Dhalae)

776010588 (RH services- Al-Hudydah)

777550490 /06511345 (GBV services-Dhamar)

772900025 (Women Prisoners services)

8004040 (Child protection)

775388889 (GBV services Sa'ada)

8000999 Yemen Women’s Union GBV Hotline