How To Help Someone Facing Family Violence

How to recognise if someone is facing family violence?

Some of the signs you may notice in people who are facing abuse are :

  • Physical: Unexplained injuries, bruises, black eyes, sprains, broken bones or teeth
  • Emotional: Anxious, upset, depressed, tearful, angry, worried, restless, quiet or confused
  • Social: Avoiding people, not answering the door or phone, canceling events
  • Financial: Overdrawn account, foreclosure, and eviction
  • Work: Absences, tardiness, sick days, decrease in work quality, inability to complete tasks, becoming isolated from co workers

How to help a friend/relative/neighbour facing family violence?

  • Listen to their problems and do not be judgmental. Regardless of their circumstance, they do not deserve to be abused.
  • Respect their decision. Often the family members facing violence are economically dependent on the offender and it is not easy for them to leave their homes. On the other hand, do not stop them from leaving home if they have decided to do so.
  • If they are depressed or confused, suggest that they seek professional help from a counsellor.
  • Offer information on available resources – counselling services, hotline numbers, numbers of nearest hospital and neighborhood police post, crisis shelter homes and procedure for getting a PPO.
  • Work together to develop a safety plan.
  • Accompany them to the police post, hospital, counselling centers or help them get into a crisis shelter home if they wish to do so.
  • If you suspect domestic violence in the homes of your neighbours, relatives or friends, call the police or other agencies that may be able to help. Do not hesitate because you think you might be interfering in someone’s personal matter. You are doing the right thing by speaking out and feeling responsible for saving someone from violence.

Click on these links for more information

Dealing with family violence
What is family violence?
What can I do if I’m facing family violence?
Getting a Personal Protection Order (PPO)
Making a Safety Plan