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When a Friend or Relative is a Victim of Domestic Violence

  • Understand that abuse is never the victim's fault. They are manipulated by someone that now has power and control over them. Take time to educate yourself on the dynamics of domestic violence

  • Know that your loved one may not see themselves as a victim or their partner as abusive. When you criticize the batterer, you are criticizing the victim as that is who they chose as their partner.

  • The abuser has most likely convinced your loved one that their friends/family do not support their relationship and don't have their best interest at heart. Criticizing the abuser can cause a victim to shut down and create distance in the relationship which will prevent them from going to you for support.

  • Point out their strengths; many victims of domestic violence are no longer capable of seeing their own abilities and gifts.

  • Talk to them, express your concerns, and provide support without judgment. 

  • Many victims do not know that what they are experiencing is abuse. Providing education on domestic violence can help them understand what is happening.

  • If a loved one discloses abuse: BELIEVE THEM.

  • DO NOT put yourself in a dangerous situation with their partner.

  • Do not be a mediator.

  • Call the police immediately if you witness an assault.

  • Understand the barriers to leaving. A victim may not have financial resources or family support. 

  • Do not force them into making a decision. The abuser has already limited a victims ability to make choices. Do not repeat this behavior by issuing ultimatums or orders. This will lessen their ability to confide in you for support.

  • Do not minimize their feelings.

  • Encourage your loved one to seek counseling.

  • Accompany your loved one to the hospital/police/domestic violence agency if they choose to seek help.

  • Help your loved one develop a safety plan. Remember, they are the experts in their relationship and it's dynamics. Trust your loved one to know what is safe for them.

Recognize the Signs of Abuse

  • Their partner acts very controlling and puts them down in front of people

  • Their partner acts very jealous of others who pay attention to them

  • Your loved one becomes quiet when the abuser is around and seems afraid of making their partner angry

  • Your loved one stops seeing friends and family members, becoming more isolated

  • Your loved one often has unexplained injuries or the explanations don’t quite add up

  • Your loved one often cancels plans at the last minute

  • Your loved one's partner controls their finances, their behavior, and who they socializes with

The Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center is here for you. If you would like further advisement or information on what to do for a loved one that is being abused, call our hotline at 401-738-1700.

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Serving individuals and families affected
by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Your abuser may be monitoring your computer activity. It is always best to access this website from a safe computer (a work computer, your friend's computer, or the local library). Click here to find out more about internet safety.

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