Domestic Violence - Topic Overview
What should you do if you know someone who is being abused?
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Be a good listener and a caring friend.
- Remind the person that no one deserves to be treated this way.
- Let the person know that the abuse is against the law and that
help is available.
- Help the person make a plan to stay safe.
- You can also suggest that the person call the National Domestic
Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to find a local domestic
violence support group.
Keep in mind that the person may not want or be ready to leave. He or
she probably knows the abuser best and knows what options are safest. But it is
important for victims of abuse to know where they can get help.
Why do victims stay?
People who are not abused
might find it hard to understand why anyone would stay in a violent
relationship. Some people think that if a person stays in an abusive
relationship, she or he must be weak or needy. This is not true.
There is more to this issue than simply leaving or staying. A woman may
fear that the abuser will hurt her and her children or take her children away.
She may have limited financial options. She may blame herself. She may stay for
religious reasons or because she does not want to break up the family. Also,
she may still love her abuser and hope that things will get better. Men who are being abused may have similar feelings.
What are the harmful effects of domestic violence?
Domestic violence hurts victims as well as their families. Don't ignore
People who suffer from abuse can be badly hurt. They are also
likely to have long-lasting (chronic) health problems, such as
depression, headaches, and
post-traumatic stress disorder. This is because of the
repeated injuries and stress from living with abuse.
happen more often and get worse when women are pregnant. It is dangerous for
both the mother and the baby. It can raise the baby's risk of low birth weight,
premature birth, and death.
The pregnant woman is at higher risk of other problems, such as infections and
And abuse has a big effect on children. Children who live
in a home where abuse happens see violence as a normal way of life. It also
raises their chance of being in a violent relationship as adults, either as
abusers or as victims.3 Teens are at greater risk
for depression, drug and alcohol use, and unsafe behavior.