recognizing & supporting victims of abuse

  1. Domestic Violence
  2. Child Abuse
  3. Elder Abuse
  4. Stalking


It is 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: 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 and what they are doing
  • Receive frequent harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner's 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 (i.e. wearing long sleeves in the summer, or sunglasses indoors)
WARNING SIGNS OF ISOLATION: People who are being isolated by their abuser 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 & EMOTIONAL ABUSE: People who are being emotionally abused may...
  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (i.e. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal


  • Call police if you see or hear evidence of domestic abuse
  • Speak out publicly against domestic violence
  • Take action personally against domestic violence when a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member is involved or being abused
  • Encourage your neighborhood watch or block association to become as concerned with watching out for domestic violence 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 at the 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 the Nampa Family Justice Center


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. Even if the person doesn't want to talk about it, expressing your concern will let them know that you care. Your willingness to say something may even save his or her life. 

  • Talk to the person in private
  • Ask if something is wrong
  • Express concern; point out things you've noticed that make you worried
  • Offer help
  • Support his or her decisions
  • Wait for him or her to come to you
  • Judge or blame
  • Pressure him or her
  • Give advice
  • Place conditions on your support 

  • 'I'm afraid for your safety'
  • 'I care about you, and I can imagine it is hard to talk about this'
  • 'It will only get worse'
  • 'I can give you a number to call for help and advice'
  • 'I'm here for you when you are ready and able to leave'
  • 'I'm here for you when you're ready to talk'
  • 'You deserve better than this'
  • 'Why don't you just leave?'
  • 'Why did you return to your partner?'
  • 'What did you do to provoke your partner?/
  • 'Why did you wait so long to tell someone?'

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.