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How Can I Help Someone in a DV Relationship?
Recognizing the warning signs of domestic abuse

It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously. 

General warning signs of domestic abuse People who are being abused may:
  • seem afraid
  • go along with everything their partner says and does
  • check in often with their partner to report where they are an what they are doing
  • receive frequent harassing phone calls from their partner
  • talk about their partners temper, jealousy, or possessiveness


Warning signs of physical violence People who are being physically abused may:
  • have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)


Warning signs of isolation People who are being isolated by their abuse may:
  • be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • rarely go out in public without their partner
  • have limited access to money, credit cards or the car

Warning signs of psychological and emotional abuse
People who are being abused may:
  • have very low self-esteem, even if they use to be confident
  • show major personality changes (e.g.an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • be depressed, anxious, or suicidal


What Can Each of Us Do?

  • call police if you see or hear evidence of domestic abuse
  • speak out publicly against domestic abuse
  • take action personally against domestic abuse when a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, or a family member is involved or being abused
  • encourage your neighborhood watch or block association to become as concerned with watching out for domestic abuse as with burglaries and other crimes
  • reach out to support someone whom you believe is a victim of domestic abuse and/or talk with a person you believe is being abusive
  • refer and or offer to accompany victim to agencies trained in helping victims/survivors of domestic abuse, such as Nampa Family Justice Center
  • help others become informed, by inviting speakers such as Nampa Family Justice Center to your church, professional organization, civic group or workplace
  • support domestic abuse agencies such as Nampa Family Justice Center 475-5700


Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it---keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • ask if something is wrong
  • express concern
  • offer help
  • support his or her decisions
  • say I’m afraid for your safety
  • say I care about you, and I know how it is hard to talk about this
  • say it will only get worse
  • say I can give you a number to call for help and advice
  • say we’re here for you when you are ready to when you are able to leave
  • say you deserve better than this 

  • wait for him or her to come to you
  • judge or blame
  • pressure him or her
  • give advice
  • place conditions on your support
  • say why don’t you just leave?
  • say why did you return to your partner?
  • say what did you do to provoke your partner?
  • say why did you wait so long to tell someone?
  Adapted from NYS office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Also DO:

Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned.
Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried.
Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk.
Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and  let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.


Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.