Fear is the main reason abused individuals do not seek help or tell anyone about the violence or abused in a relationship. Sometimes this fear is about coping alone if and when they leave and is heightened in cases where the person is either physically or financially dependent on their partner. People with disabilities there face additional challenges when trying to leave a violent relationship.

Fear can also be about what the partner might do if they found out that help was sought. For some people, the thought of being physically hurt or even killed, or the thought of their children being physically hurt or killed is enough to stay in a relationship. Studies show that the highest risk of serious injury or death from violence occurs at the point of separation or at the time when the decision is made to separate. By leaving, the perpetrator’s power is threatened and the need to control the relationship is intensified.

As a result of domestic violence and abuse, people’s self-esteem can become so low that they are unable to see themselves as worthy of seeking help. The victim tries to rationalise the abuse, believing that they were the cause of it or they somehow deserved it. Police called out to the scene of domestic violence by neighbours often attest that when the abuser is arrested, the victim wants them to drop the charges.

Many abused individuals try various tactics to alleviate the abuse. These include fighting back, trying to talk out the problem, or changing their own behaviour to meet the needs of the abuser. When this doesn’t work, they may become passive, which reduces the immediate danger. Repeated violence has pushed many individuals to suicide or homicide.