Why do people stay with an abusive person?

A common question when someone is being abused is 'Why don't they just leave?'
There are many reasons why leaving an abuser is not easy and may also be dangerous.
Some reasons are listed below:

Concerns about children – the victim could be worried about putting the children in danger if they leave without them.  If they leave with them, they need to consider that they might need to change school and lose their friends.  Many survivors still want their children to have a relationship with the abusive parent – they fear they will be accused of turning the children against the abusive parent and the family courts may order them to. 


Finding somewhere safe to go – if they stay with family members or friends it could put them at risk too if the abuser finds out where they are.  The abuser may go to the home of family or friends and intimidate or cause harm to them in an attempt to find the victim.


Finances – They may have to leave their job and their house.  Where economic abuse is happening, they will be worried about how they can manage to pay bills.



Care – The victim may rely on their abuser for support with their daily life.  This could be things like help with personal care, going shopping, taking medication.  If they are alone, who would do this?  Would they need to go into a home or have strangers providing their care?


Social isolation – The victim may be worried that friends or family members may not believe that the abuse is really happening.  They may decide to ‘side’ with the abuser or to stop contact.


Safety – Evidence collected over many years shows that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic abuse is when they leave or if the abuser finds out they are planning to leave.  The abuser will feel they have lost control and is likely to increase the abuse – this could mean being more violent, stalking, or murder