WHAT TO LOOK FOR
You might not see first hand how your friends and their partners interact behind closed doors. But there are clues to watch out for if you suspect a friend might be in an abusive relationship. If you see any of these warning signs, we have tips to help you start a conversation. If you think your friend is in danger, or you want more resources to give her*, help is available 24 hours a day from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that one partner uses against the other while they’re in a relationship and sometimes even after the relationship has ended. In 98% of all domestic violence cases, financial abuse helps keep victims trapped in the abusive relationship.
People who are being abused may:
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Have their spending tightly monitored and restricted by their partner
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Worry excessively about how their partner will react to what are commonly thought of as simple, everyday purchases
- Seem afraid of or anxious to please their partner
START THE CONVERSATION
If you suspect a friend is in an abusive relationship, talking with her about it can be hard. The most important thing you can do is let her know that she has support and there are resources available to help her get safe. It’s important to remember that you can’t “rescue” your friend from an abusive relationship. Although it is hard to see someone you care about get hurt, the person being hurt needs to be the one who decides to take action. Don’t be afraid to tell her you’re concerned for her safety. Consider these conversation starters:
* National statistics show that domestic violence primarily impacts women. Feminine pronouns are used in this document when referring to victims of domestic violence and masculine pronouns are used when referring to perpetrators. We are using gender-specific pronouns to keep the writing simple and clear, but we recognize that the issue is not a simple one. Sometimes the perpetrator will be female while the victim will be male. And, domestic violence can happen in same sex relationships as well.