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4 Signs of Domestic Violence

According to the CDC, approximately 24 Americans are victims of domestic violence every minute. But what exactly is domestic violence and what can you do if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence? Learn to notice the signs and know how to respond if someone is in an abusive situation.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behavior in the home. It is typically when one partner abuses another, often by using intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault, or other abusive behaviors.

While many people associate domestic violence as physical abuse from a husband or boyfriend, domestic violence can take many forms and can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. The perpetrator could be a partner, former partner, or merely a date. Experts also categorize sibling abuse, elder abuse, and child abuse as domestic violence. Domestic violence may take one or more forms including physical, sexual, emotional/psychological (through abusive language, threats, control, or isolation), stalking, or economic (seizing the victim’s money, insurance, possessions, etc.).

Watch for Warnings of Future Abuse

Partners who are on the path to being abusive usually exhibit certain characteristics. If your partner uses force to solve problems, aggressively expects you to obey him or her, is jealous, misuses alcohol or drugs, or experiences drastic mood swings, make an appointment with your doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist or counselor. With a therapist’s help, you can find the best course of action to be sure you stay safe. However, if you are ever in physical danger, call 911 immediately.

4 Signs of Domestic Violence

If you see these signs in someone you know, he or she might be a victim of domestic violence.

1. Isolation

  • Missing social events
  • Unusually restricted contact with friends and family
  • Being unusually confined to his or her house or residence

2. Fear-Driven Partner Interactions

  • A victim of domestic violence sometimes feels the need to constantly agree with and please his or her partner in order to avoid abuse.
  • Sometimes a victim acts afraid of his or her partner, receives aggressive phone calls, or feels compelled to tell his or her partner everything he or she does.

3. Unexplainable or Frequent Injuries

  • Pay attention if injuries are being brushed off as accidents, or signs of violence like bruises and cuts are being masked with makeup or clothing. A victim might wear long-sleeved shirts in the summer or sunglasses on a cloudy day to cover wounds.

4. Personality Changes

  • Has someone who was previously outgoing become antisocial?
  • Is he or she acting nervous or anxious?
  • Does he or she seem to have low self-esteem?
  • Domestic violence frequently leads to mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, all of which might come across as personality changes. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call 911 right away.

How to Help a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence, offer him or her support, including the number for a domestic violence hotline. Don’t be afraid of offending someone by checking in on his or her safety; it is much better to show concern than to let the abuse continue. In cases of domestic violence, it can be dangerous and frightening to remove yourself from a relationship. Ask for help from a hotline, local resource center, or therapist, and stand up against domestic violence.

Be ready to call 911 immediately if someone is in physical danger or is injured. CHI St. Luke’s Health emergency rooms are always open for your safety and wellbeing.

Sources:
Close the Door on Intimate Partner Violence
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Recognizing Domestic Violence