Domestic Violence Warning Signs
Domestic violence involves a complex dynamic of intimidation, fear, and control within intimate relationships. It includes physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse, and affects individuals from all backgrounds.
If you recognize the warning signs, please call our 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 619.234.3164 for safety planning, crisis counseling, and information referrals.
Warning signs of an abusive relationship
- You avoid family and friends and/or your partner keeps you from family and friends. You spend all your free time with your partner.
- You do not participate in activities that you enjoyed before beginning the relationship. You experience sudden changes in eating habits, dress, or appearance.
- Your partner displays jealous or possessive tendencies but states that he/she is only looking after you and that it is because he/she loves you.
- Your partner frequently uses name calling, threats, or intimidation against you.
- You are unable or fearful of making decisions without your partner. You have an unreasonable fear of upsetting your partner.
- You find yourself frequently justifying your partner's behavior to your friends and family. You take the blame when your partner becomes upset or angry with you.
What to do if you are in an abusive relationship
- Call 619.234.3164 and a counselor can assist you in developing a safety plan when you are ready to leave.
- Store important items and documents for you and your children in a safe place (identification, birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, work permits, medical records, cash and ATM cards, keys, medications, and important phone numbers).
- Be safe — always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
How to help someone you know in an abusive relationship
- Listen, believe, and validate the victim. Let him/her know that you care and you want him/her to be safe.
- Do not ask questions that imply blame. Victims are not responsible for their partner's choices or violence, and do not deserve more shame.
- Do not be critical of the abusive partner — instead make firm statements that violence under any circumstance is unacceptable.
- Do not assume that the victim is ready to leave the relationship or that you know what is best for her/him. Don't pressure the victim to make quick decisions.
- Become a comfort zone for the victim. Assure the victim that their conversation with you will not be revealed to their abuser.
- Assist the victim in getting legal help if necessary or with other sources of protection, such as protective orders, restraining orders, changing current phone numbers, etc..
- Do not force the victim or put pressure to not see the abuser. It may be very difficult to leave the relationship for many reasons. Respect their choices.
- Do not advise the victim to leave or judge them for staying. People are the best experts in their own lives and ultimately know what is best for themselves at any particular time.
- Provide information and resources in a non-judgemental and gentle manner so that the victim is able to make educated and informed decisions about their future.
- Provide a safe environment and opportunities for the victim to become aware of available resources, explore their options, and know that they do not deserve to be abused.
- Don't underestimate the danger. Frequently, the most dangerous time for a victim is when they leave the abuser. If you fear for their safety, call 911 immediately.
Power & Control Wheel
Courtesy of Domestic Abuse Intervention Project