Your support and encouragement can be of tremendous value to a friend or loved one involved in an abusive relationship. You can ease the isolation and loss of control s/he may feel by listening, providing information on domestic violence, and encouraging the victim to identify and explore available options.

All intimate relationships have their problems and sometimes it's difficult for others to decide when it's appropriate to intervene. Maybe your friend has mentioned "trouble" at home and your've dismissed her comments by saying all couples have problems. Ask yourself how you've reacted in the pas to these possible signs that your friend is being abused and needs your help.

  • Warning Signs
    • Have you readily accepted the explanations for visible injuries, such as black eyes, bruises, or broken bones? Do you tend not to press further about frequent “accidents” that cause absenteeism from work?
    • Does their partner ridicule them publicly? Do you and others ignore this behavior or join in the laughter at their expense? Think about why you might not be willing to stand up for them. Do you have a sense of the volatile nature of the partner’s comments?
    • Have you noticed changes in the behavior of their children? Does your friend or family member appear frightened, exhausted or on edge? Do the children seem to be easily upset? Are they experiencing sudden problems in school or other activities?
  • What Can You Do?

    Become Informed
    Gather all the information about domestic violence and sexual assault available. Contact programs and services in your area that assist victims and their children. These programs not only offer safety, but also provide advocacy, support and other needed services. Our website is one such resource for information.

    Lend a Sympathetic Ear
    Letting your friend know that you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer. Don’t force the issue but allow them to confide in you at their own pace. Keep your mind open and really listen to what she tells you. Don’t make personal judgments or place blame for what’s happening. It is a mistake to underestimate her fear of potential danger.

  • How to Approach Someone You Suspect is Being Abused?
    • Respect Privacy
    • All discussions must occur in private, without other people/family members present. This is essential to building and keeping trust and ensuring their safety.
    • Believe and validate their experiences. Listen to them and do not judge. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know they are not alone. Many people have similar experiences.
    • Acknowledge the injustice. Domestic violence perpetrated against them is not their fault. No one deserves abusive treatment, regardless of the circumstances.
    • Respect their autonomy. Respect their right to make decisions in their life. Let them know you will be there for them when they are ready to make hard choices.
    • Help them plan for future safety. What have they tried in the past to keep safe? Is it working? Do they have a place to go if they need to escape? Know the resources in your community and promote access to them.
  • Special Notice

    Although most domestic violence victims are female, it is a fact that males may also be victimized. There are some statements in this website that refer specifically to women, however we recognize that abuse of male partners is certainly a reality. The purpose of Safe Harbor is to address safety for women and their children because they comprise more than 80 percent of Domestic Violence victims. Male victims may receive assistance by contacting Partners in Change in Colorado Springs,

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