The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines ‘domestic violence’ as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and economic and emotional/psychological abuse.”

If you know someone experiencing violence in their home or relationship, you can take steps to help them move towards safety.

  1. Don’t judge people or situations. Instead, show empathy.
  2. Avoid telling the victim to leave. They likely already know this, but do not feel safe doing so. Start discussing the idea of creating a safety plan.
  3. Don’t insult the abuser. Unfortunately, that could potentially lead someone to defend his/her abuser. 
  4. Become the victim’s confidante. Listen to everything. Make note of your observations. The day may come when you are needed as a witness to the abuse. 

Additional things you can do to help a friend or family member start working on a safety plan are here on the NCADV’s website.

** October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 
If you or someone you know needs help immediately, call 911. To report domestic violence, call 800-799-7233. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can also be reached via text or chat if it is not safe to make a call.