Almost one in 10 Army wives are domestic violence victims, a study suggests.
Doctors in a garrison town quizzed 257 female patients and 20 said they had been abused by their partners.
Up to 13 said they were actively being abused, five said the violence was historical and two said they had been raped.
Some of the violence came after soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress returned from warzones.
The wife of one serving at Bulford on Salisbury Plain said: “My husband was a different man when he returned from Afghanistan.
“At first he was very quiet and the wives had been advised that it might take time for husbands to settle.
“He began drinking quite a lot on his own. He would have outbursts at almost anything and once slapped me during an argument when he had been drinking.”
The mum of three, 36, added: “He was very apologetic and I thought it was a one-off but the abuse has become worse.
“I’ve had to leave home on a few occasions. The Army is in denial about the problem and offers no help at all. I can’t speak to the other wives because I almost feel ashamed this has happened.”
Colonel Philip Ingram, a former officer in the Army Intelligence Corps, said: “The MoD really needs to start treating domestic violence with the seriousness it deserves as well as tackling the causes.”
He added that men have also been victims of abusive servicewomen.
All the women who reported violence in the study at Queen Elizabeth Memorial Health Centre in Tidworth, Wilts, were offered help.
The MoD said it supported families affected by domestic violence, adding: “There is no evidence to suggest domestic abuse is more prevalent in the military than the rest of the population.”