Responding to Loved Ones Who Are Experiencing DV

Responding to Loved Ones Who Are Experiencing DV

I read this story pertaining to the death of a very young woman. She was gunned down by her child’s father.

My heart immediately grew weary. I look domestic violence in the face every day and it is a scary thing. I hope that every client we come in contact with has a fate greater than the woman in this story. Domestic Violence is alive and real. It affects the lives of the abuser, the victim, the families of both and most importantly the children in the middle. Today, I encourage you to “Be The Hero”


If you sense or know for certain that your loved one is in a violent relationship. Here are a few tips:


It is important to remember that domestic violence is not always obvious and there are some key signs to look out for.

Signs to look out for

  • The person is often put down or humiliated in front of others.
  • The person seems very uncomfortable or afraid around their family member or partner.
  • The person is stopped from seeing their family and friends
  • The person is being forced or pressured to do sexual things.
  • The person is physically hurt or scared of being hurt by their family member or partner.


   Approach them about the abuse in a sensitive way. For example, I’m worried about you because …

Take the abuse seriously.  Abuse can be damaging both physically and emotionally, and is very destructive to someone’s self-confidence. Their partner could be placing them in real physical danger.

Focus on their safety. Ask them about their safety and how they could protect themselves.

Help them to recognize the abuse and understand how it may be affecting them. Recognize and support their strength and courage.

Help them to understand that the abuse is not their fault and that no one deserves to be abused, no matter what they do.

Listen to them and help them think about their relationship, whether they want to break up or stay, and how they can protect themselves from any more abuse.

Offer to help protect them but only if you are not putting your own safety at risk. For example, you could offer to be around when the abuser is there, or give them lifts home, take phone messages from the abuser.

Encourage them to talk to a counselor, or talk to a counselor yourself about what you could do to support them.

If you feel overwhelmed or frightened yourself, get help. Talk to someone, or ring a support service for support.


   Don’t blame them for the abuse or ask judgmental questions like “what did you do to make them treat you like that? Or “why don’t you just break up with them?” Don’t focus on trying to work out the abuser’s reasons for the abuse. Concentrate on supporting them and on what they can do to protect themselves.

Try not to be impatient or critical, if they are confused about what to do, or if they say they still love their partner. It’s difficult for anyone to break up a relationship, and especially hard if they are being abused.

“You need to get away, you need to get out…because there is only [one other] way, and that’s death. You need to get out,” (Words of a mourning father).


-Tiarra White, Court Advocate

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