You may suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Some tell-tale signs can be:
- She seems nervous or ‘jumpy’ around her partner
- She needs to let him know what she’s doing at all times.
- She has to give an account of any money she spends.
- She doesn’t seem to have time for family and friends any more and has stopped her normal activities
- She has unexplained physical injuries
- She seems depressed and has become withdrawn.
- She says she is ok when you ask but you’re not sure that she is………….
How can you Help?
You can give her an opportunity to disclose by using open ended questions like:
- I notice you seem quite down, how are things at home? or
- Is there something going on that you find hard to talk about’?
- You seem to be quite nervous around your partner – what happens if you disagree with him about something?
If a woman doesn’t want to talk about it, try again at a later date and let her know that you’re there for support if she changes her mind.
If she does disclose, remember that her safety is the first priority. The most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves or is thinking of changing her situation. She could be in real physical danger so don’t pressurize her but do give her information about any support services nearby or give her the number of the National Freefone Helpline.
Respect her decision, remain non-judgemental and tell her she is not to blame for the abuse - focus on helping her to stay safe and get support rather than trying to understand why he is behaving in this way.
Do not tell anyone about what the woman has disclosed (unless she asks you to). Above all, do not approach the abusive person or try and discuss the issue with him – this could put the woman at real risk.
If you are worried about someone you know and want to discuss the situation further you can contact a domestic violence service for support for yourself.