How to Safely Report Domestic Abuse

Being trapped in a domestic violence situation can feel hopeless. Often, domestic violence victims are isolated from others and feel like they have nowhere to turn. However, there are resources and support available to those living in dangerous situations.

If you or a loved one need help reporting domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at thehotline.org or 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is hope for a better life, free from domestic violence.

Know the Signs

Intimate partner violence is a complex and complicated issue. The abuse often builds gradually over time, and doesn’t look the same in every situation.

However, there are common warning signs that indicate domestic violence.

Signs YOU Might Be in An Abusive Relationship:

  • Name-calling or demeaning comments, both in private or in public
  • Possessive behavior (constant texting or phone calls, wanting to know where you are going and when)
  • Any kind of physical violence
  • Coerced or forced sexual acts
  • Partner’s refusal to let you have access to financial accounts or credit cards
  • Preventing you from seeing or talking to family or friends

Signs a LOVED ONE Might Be in An Abusive Relationship:

  • Constant worry about making their partner angry
  • Observing name-calling or demeaning talk
  • Visible and unexplained injuries
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and hobbies
  • Changes in mood, including increased anxiety or depression
  • Making excuses for a partner’s behavior

If YOU Are Being Abused

Domestic violence isn’t always physical. Jealousy, possessiveness, intimidation, financial control, and name-calling are just a few examples. If you are experiencing abuse, reach out to a family member, friend, or domestic violence organization for help. If possible, make contact without your partner knowing to avoid confrontation and potential escalation.

Get to a safe space and contact a domestic abuse support agency like the National Domestic Violence Hotline or Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). If you are accessing these organizations’ websites, be sure to do so safely, from a computer or browser your partner can’t trace. Use a work computer, library computer, or a friend’s phone. This ensures your abuser will not discover you are reaching out for help.

Leaving a domestic violence situation can be complicated and could potentially be dangerous. Therefore, it’s crucial that you connect with a professional who can help you access resources and leave safely. Leaving isn’t always easy, but you do have support.

If A LOVED ONE is Being Abused

The most dangerous time in any domestic violence relationship is when the survivor decides to leave. As a friend or family member, it is vital that you do not intervene directly.

Instead, ask the victim privately if they feel safe or if they want immediate help. Direct them to resources such as the local crisis center, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). Offer to help in any way you can, such as giving a ride or offering to babysit when needed.

Most importantly, be a listening ear. Those experiencing domestic violence often feel isolated and alone. Your support might be the encouragement they need to leave.

Learn more about supporting a friend or loved one here.

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, do not wait: call 911.


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