How to Act in Case of Domestic Violence


The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes domestic violence when one of the partners in a relationship tries to maintain power and control over the other partner. Behaviors of domestic violence include physical, mental, and social abuse. Physical violence is most obvious because there may be clear signs such as bruises, but mental and social violence can be harder to detect.

Essentially, behaviors that cause fear, prevent someone from doing something, or forcing someone to do something against their will can be signs of these types of violence. Threats, intimidation, isolation, minimizing, and blaming the victim are some examples along with using other people like children, and withholding or controlling money.

Domestic violence can be against anyone no matter what sex, age, or background. It is important for you to know what to do if you or someone you care about is in a situation where domestic violence is present. Getting help is urgent. Many who are a victim of domestic violence are kept from the public and often feel alone and hopeless, so if you are a victim, seek out a support group. If you are a loved one of the victim, be their support and help them get the help they need.

If you are in a violent relationship or you suspect someone you know is, follow these steps to seek safety and help.

1. Do not confront the abuser

Confronting the abuser can cause the emotions to escalate and create a more dangerous situation than what is already taking place.

2. Call 911 if it is an emergency

This is a no-brainer, but if you are the victim, you may be unable to make the call. If possible yell out for help for someone to make the call for you. If you are a witness, do not hesitate to make that call. A life is at risk.

3. Get injuries treated

Injuries need to be treated as soon as possible. Seek medical treatment with the help of a friend if needed, but do it right away so your injuries do not cause more harm.

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4. Photograph and record injuries

Keeping a record of injuries is helpful if you want to build a case or get a restraining order against the abuser.

5. Find a safe place to go

Go to the nearest shelter if you can, and if not, find a trusted friend you know will have a safe place to stay. Take your children with you if you are a mom.

6. Find support

Support can be friends, family members, co-workers, support groups, or anyone you trust. You can find support groups at shelters who can also help you come up with some type of safety plan for you and your children.

Violence is never acceptable in a relationship. If you are a loved one, know that it takes courage and unconditional love to help someone get through this. They need you. You may be all they have for hope.

If you are a victim, you do not have to deal with the abuse alone. Know that your life is invaluable and you deserve to be treated with love and care. Seek help and protect yourself and your children.