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Understanding Relationship Abuse

When it comes to an abusive relationship, deciding whether or not to leave the relationship is a very personal decision. 

Someone who is abusive uses many tactics to keep the person they are abusing in the relationship that may include:

  • Convinces the person they are abusing they really love them or that no one else will ever love them​
  • Creates good times in the relationship ​
  • Makes false promises to change behaviors​
  • Denying, minimizing, and blaming​
  • Makes threats and creates fear
  • Isolates the person they are abusing from family and other support systems​
  • Uses the children​
  • Creates a sense of shame for the person they are abusing​
  • Establishes economic dependency​
  • Misuses religious or cultural beliefs

Supporting a friend or family member.

Often times, it is difficult to know “when” or “if” it is appropriate to reach out to someone who is experiencing domestic violence.

The answer is…it is ALWAYS a good time to help!

The violence will not end until someone takes action to stop it. In addition, your support and encouragement can be of tremendous value to a family member or friend involved in an abusive relationship.

How You Can Help

  • Become informed. Gather as much domestic violence information as you can. Call our helpline number for assistance.
  • Learn about DVSSP services so that you can share that information with the survivor.
  • Focus on their strengths. Always give positive reinforcement and emotional support. “It’s not your fault.”
  • Lend an empathetic ear. Let them know that you are willing to listen. Do not force the issue or judge decisions.
  • Be a friend in deed. Provide assistance when you can for help with moving, childcare, transportation, etc.
  • Support the survivor’s decisions. Don’t blame or try to change their mind. Do not offer advice. “You should…”
  • Help them understand the danger. Explain to them that abuse does not occur in all relationships.
  • Protect the survivor’s confidentiality. Keep all information confidential. Never confront the person who is abusive without approval, as it may further jeopardize their safety.
  • If you are concerned for their safety, let them know! If you notice an injury, inquire about it. Be sure to speak privately to ensure safety.
  • Guide them to community services. Share any information that you have gathered, including the hotline number for your county.
  • Help them develop a safety plan. Make a list of emergency contacts. Develop resources and ideas for difficult issues.
24/7 Helpline1-800-791-4000