A Domestic Violence Victim
In case of an emergency, call 911.
Abuse occurs in all types of relationships and among people with varying backgrounds of age, race, religion, financial status, sexual orientation and education. Domestic violence occurs when an abusive family member or partner causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to an individual with whom they are in a trusted relationship. Domestic violence may be physical, sexual, financial, verbal or emotional in nature. While abuse often occurs as a pattern of controlling behavior, a single episode of abuse is cause for concern.
If you or someone you know is being abused by a partner or family member, it is important to get help safely. Many victims and survivors of domestic violence find the following helpful:
- Developing a safety plan, which includes setting aside: cash, important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.), a set of keys and a change of clothes, all of which can be easily accessed in a crisis situation. For more information on developing a personalized safety plan, click here.
- Calling a domestic violence hotline or agency
- Staying with family or friends
- Knowing important phone numbers to call for help
- Sending children to stay with family or friends
If a victim chooses to leave an abusive relationship, for various reasons, it may take multiple attempts to leave. Providing non-judgmental support is critical.
Are you experiencing any of the following in your relationship?
- Isolates you from friends and family
- Questions about where you go, what you wear, who you see, who you talk with
- Harassing phone calls, text messages, emails, notes on your car
- Monitoring of your activities through your cell phone, computer or social media
- Embarrassment in public, at home or in front of your family
- Constant blame
- Limited access to work, school or place of worship
- Harmful threats towards you, your children or pets
- Destruction of your personal property or things that are important to you
- Financial control or limited access to money or bank accounts
- Intimidation with guns, knives or other weapons
- Forced or unwanted sex
- Physical violence, such as being pushed, hit or choked
- Threats to kill you, themselves or others
The following are signs to be aware of if you suspect someone is being abused:
- Physical injuries, such as broken bones, fingers, wrist, unexplained bruising
- Claims of being "clumsy" or "accident prone"
- Covering injuries with makeup or clothing that may be inappropriate for the season or occasion
- Harassing phone calls, text messages, emails, notes on cars
- Signs of distress, anxiety, depression, crying or poor concentration
- Comments about stress at home
- Talking about the spouse or partner's anger or temper
- Leaving work early or coming in late
- Making mistakes on the job
Respond and Refer
If you notice signs of abuse, talk with the person in private and let them know you are concerned about them. If they acknowledge that a family member or a partner has been abusive towards them, ask them what you can do to be helpful. It is important to believe what the person is telling you; providing non-judgmental support is critical. Recognize that because the individual is living in the situation, they will likely know what is best to keep them safe. Staying with an abusive partner may be safer than trying to leave the situation, so trust that the victim knows their situation best.
Encourage them to seek support in the following ways:
- Talk to someone they trust, such as a family member, friend, neighbor, teacher or faith leader
- Check with their employer's human resources department regarding an Employee Assistance Program or other resources
- Call a domestic violence hotline or community resources for help; they can assist with a place to stay, legal protection and safety planning
Concerns regarding abuse and adults with developmental disabilities:
If an elder person is in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency cases, you may contact Adult Protective Services (APS) through the Department of Job and Family Services. APS is responsible for investigating cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation for persons, 60 years of age or older. APS also investigates abuse of adults with developmental disabilities and works collaboratively with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to respond to these individuals. When making a report, you should try to include the following information, although it is not required:
- The name and address of the person you suspect is being abused or neglected
- The age of the person
- The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the person, if available
- The reason you suspect the elder is being abuse or neglected
- Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation