Domestic violence is a serious matter. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, it is important to take steps to get them the help they need. There is no such thing as ‘minor’ domestic violence – all cases are important, and all cases should be taken seriously.
With that said, it can sometimes be hard to spot the signs of domestic violence, especially if you have not been in this situation before. The points listed below should help you determine whether or not you need to take further steps to help an individual who has become a victim.
The Individual Seems Afraid of Their Partner
If you spend any time with the potential victim and his or her partner, observe their behavior to see if anything seems ‘off’. Most couples interact naturally with one another, and are perfectly comfortable in each other’s company. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, there could be a problem. Specifically, take note if the potential victim appears to be intimidated by his or her partner. Intimidation is not something that is present in a healthy relationship.
Conversations Around the Topic
Often, those who are the victims of domestic violence are afraid to speak up – even when the violent partner is not around. If your friend or loved one is talking around the issue without bringing it up specifically, you may need to ask a few questions to get to the heart of what is going on. This is a sensitive issue, of course, so you will want to gently steer the conversation in that direction without going too far and causing the other person to shut down. It may take a few conversations over a period of days for the victim to feel comfortable speaking up.
Frequent, Odd Injuries
This is probably the sign you think of first when you think of domestic violence. It is always possible that someone could injure themselves in an accident once, or maybe even twice, but a pattern should certainly be cause for concern. You should also be concerned if the explanations for these injuries don’t really make sense. As the saying goes, where there is smoke, there is usually a fire.
In this case, it is a change in personality that you are looking for with regard to the victim. Some people have low self-esteem without being in an abusive relationship. However, someone who once had a high level of self-esteem and now seems to have very little may be a victim of domestic violence.
The points included above are just a few of the signs you can watch for with regard to domestic violence. If you are convinced that there is abuse taking place, you should not directly confront the alleged abuser. This is a person who may be dangerous, so it would be a mistake to take things into your own hands. Instead, contact the appropriate authorities and let the professionals deal with the matter.