How to recognize abuse
How to help the victim
Where can I get help
How Do I Recognize
Look for the following signs with someone who you suspect may be experiencing
domestic violence. Although these signs do not always indicate that
someone suffers from domestic violence, they are found commonly amongst
- Overly protective, jealous, controlling or questioning partner (partner
may use public blaming or embarrassment)
- Extreme fear of partner's disapproval
- Excessive self-blaming in the context of the relationship
- Progressive isolation from friends, family, and supporters
- Non-accidental injuries
- Any injury during pregnancy, especially to abdomen/breasts
- Prior history of abuse
- Chronic pain symptoms with no apparent medical cause
- Psychological/Emotional distress
- Hopelessness and suicide attempts
How Can I Help a Victim?
You can make a difference in stopping the cycle of violence. Not addressing
a potentially abusive situation only serves to perpetuate it. Finding out more about the safety of your friend or family member can help. The most important thing to remember
when you talk with your friend or family member is to remain non-judgmental.
The abuse is not the victim's fault. Here are some things you can do:
- Listen to their story with open ears and an open mind. Keep all
- Let the victim know that they are not alone, and that you are there
to listen to and support them.
- Create a safe environment where the victim will not be judged or
feel uncomfortable sharing their story.
- Choose a location to talk that can afford you and your friend or
family member some privacy.
- Here are some things NOT to do:
- Don't tell the victim that you know what they feel like, unless
you really do.
- Don't tell the victim what she must do. Rather, DO provide options.
- Don't blame the victim or cause them to feel more guilt by saying
things like, "Why didn't you
" or "Why can't
you just leave?"
- Provide validating messages.
- Tell the victim that you hear them. Be emotionally affirming.
- Tell the victim that it is not their fault and that no one deserves
to be abused.
- Tell the victim that everyone has a right to live
free from violence, and she has options.
- Provide information about domestic violence - you can use the information
in this website or tell the victim that they can call NYAWC's hotline.
A victim has options.
- Safety Plan: Visit the safety plans section of our website. (here:
link to safety planning on our website). Print out a copy of
the safety plan and give it to the victim, or just share some of the
information with her to help her protect herself and her children.
For Friends and Family: Taking Care of Yourself
In order to care for your friend or family member, you also have to
take care of yourself. Domestic violence can be
very difficult to hear about and handle, especially if the abuser is
close to you as well.
If you're feeling angry or hurt, dealing with those emotions will help
you to better help your friend or relative. Explore the reasons why
you have these feelings, but also realize that they are normal. You
cannot take control or "fix" of the situation, but you can
help your friend or family member make her own informed choices to stay
Having as much information as possible about domestic violence and
how to offer support may be very helpful to you as well. Click
here for more information about domestic violence and a list of