What is Domestic Violence?
Women and children are the overwhelming majority (up to 95%) of those who experience domestic and family violence. There are many forms of abuse including physical, verbal, emotional, financial, social isolation, sexual and psychological. Psychological or emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse. Abuse in a relationship is never acceptable.
Domestic and Family Violence can have a profound effect on children whether they are the target of abuse or witness abuse of another family member.
Any person can experience domestic and family violence regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, sexuality or lifestyle. Adults can abuse their children, and adolescent children can abuse their parents.
Someone you know may very likely be experiencing domestic or family violence in their relationship. Statistics tell us that 58% of women who have been physically assaulted discuss it with a friend or neighbour.
What Should You Do?
The most important thing you can do is to listen without judging, respect the person's decisions, and help them find ways to become stronger and safer.
Things you can say:
- I believe you
- You do not deserve to be abused
- I am afraid for your safety and the safety of your children
- Do you need help to find out what services are available?
Learn the Warning Signs of Abuse
There are many ways somebody can abuse another in a relationship; see above to learn the warning signs of abuse.
This is just a sample, for more information on what an abusive relationship looks like, see Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like by Rosalind B Penfold, available at Book Depository.