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10 Warning Signs That Your Friend Is In an Abusive Relationship

Intimate relationship abuse against young people is prevalent in Ireland, with 1 in 5 young women aged 18 to 25 having been subjected to abuse within a relationship.

The abuse can have devastating effects such as anxiety, depression and isolation from friends and family. Some are even hospitalised from injuries or attempt suicide as a result of the abuse.

Abuse can feel like a big word, but the subtle ways a person mistreats their partner can start out small and get much worse over time. It’s important to help a friend if you think they are experiencing abuse.

Watching out for patterns of behaviour in your friend or partner can help to identify abuse.

Here are the 10 key warning signs that could mean your friend is in an abusive relationship:

1. You don’t see them as much as you used to

2. They seem distant, with-drawn and distracted

3. They seem anxious or nervous around their partner

4. They seem to be watching everything they say and do

5. Their partner gets jealous or angry easily

6. Their partner always puts them down

7. Their partner makes them send nudes

8. Their partner bombards their phone with messages, DMs and comments and all of their videos and stories.

9. Their partner demands to look through their phone and knows their passwords

10. Their partner criticises the way they look and how they dress

It’s important to note however, that if you don’t recognise any of these signs, but something still feels wrong, your friend could still be experiencing abuse. You don’t have to be 100% sure that what they’re experiencing is abuse, if it feels wrong, then it probably is.

Women’s Aid’s ‘Help a Friend’ tool, available at, can help you spot the signs of abuse, learn how to start a conversation with someone think might be experiencing abuse, and find support for intimate relationship abuse.

Remember, if you are supporting someone through this difficult and emotional time, remember to look after yourself. Make sure that you don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to their partner.

You can speak to someone on our free and confidential Instant Messaging Service, available at, or call the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about spotting the signs and what you can do to help at and by following #YesItsAbuse


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