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How to Help Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse



Domestic violence and abuse is a fairly common problem among married or dating couples. This can happen to anyone- even to someone close to you, yet the problem is typically denied, excused, or ignored. This is mostly true when the abuse is emotional and psychological. When a person is physically battered, it will be more obvious. For this reason, to offer help towards victims of domestic violence and abuse, one must first understand and acknowledge the signs of an abusive relationship.

Domestic Abuse: How Does It Happen?

Domestic abuse and violence are also known as spousal abuse. This happens when one person in the relationship wants to control the other individual. The abuser may use fear and intimidation and may threaten or use physical violence. This type of abuse includes assault and battery.

Assault and battery between married couples do not discriminate. It can happen to either a man or a woman. The main purpose of domestic abuse is to gain and maintain control over the other person. The common cycle of this exploitation is that the abuser alternates between extreme violent behavior and apologetic behavior with promises to change. If a person is in an abusive relationship, immediate action must be done. Domestic assault and battery can quickly escalate, and in worst cases, it may end up in murder.

Recognize The Signs Of Abuse

This type of abuse usually starts with verbal abuse. The emotional and psychological effects of domestic violence can greatly affect the victim. For one, it can devastate the victim’s self-worth and confidence. It may also lead to depression, which makes the victim feel helpless and alone.

No one has to endure this kind of maltreatment; thus, the first step to help victims of domestic abuse is to recognize that they are abused by their spouse. The most common signs of emotional or psychological abuse include:

  • Accusing and blaming: The abuser blames the victims for everything that goes wrong. Some even accuse their spouse of having affairs and are extremely jealous.
  • Trivializing: The perpetrator belittles the victim, ignores their feelings and achievements. This sign is usually accompanied by insults and bullying.
  • Threatening: The abuser threatens the victim with physical abuse, or threatens them with weapons, such as knives and guns.
  • Name-calling: The abusive partner use vulgarities to insult the other person. They usually use cruel names or use terms of endearment with sarcasm.
  • Abusive Anger: Constant yelling, screaming, and shouting when angry. Typically, when the abusive partner is angry, they usually hit things or hit their partner.

Physical Abuse: Offer Intervention Before It’s Too Late

Physical abuse involves physically hurting the other person which results in injuries. This level of abuse may range from physical restrain to murder. With that said, it is important for victims to know that battery is a crime, whether it happens between married couples, or inside and outside the family. The police have the authority to protect people from physical attacks. The signs of physical abuse in intimate relationships include:

  • Choking, shaking, slapping, hitting, punching, beating, bruising, and grabbing
  • Holding the victim against his/her will, and confinement
  • Assault with weapons, such as gun or knife
  • Injuries leading to broken bones
  • Burning
  • Murder

If you suspect that a person close to you is being abused by his/her spouse, immediately take action. Do not delude yourself to stay out of their marital problems since you never know when the violence might escalate to something more dangerous and fatal. Here’s what you can do:

  • Ask the victim if something is wrong. You can try to talk to them in private.
  • Express your concern, but do not judge or criticize
  • Listen and validate. Avoid giving advice, especially if you are not familiar with such situations.
  • Offer your help through treatment or by calling the police
  • Support the victim’s decisions, but do not give conditions for your support.