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166160092-web-cropped2Domestic violence is a worldwide epidemic. It is a crime that affects all of society and we can all help. It may be difficult to watch a loved one or friend cope with domestic violence – it is important to let them know
that they do not have to face this alone.
You can help!

Warning Signs of Abuse

It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of abuse. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

Adults who are being abused may:

  • Stop attending events or participating in activities they used to enjoy.
  • Withdraw from family and friends; spend little time with friends and family outside the relationship.
  • Show a change in personality ; show signs of depression, anxiety or mood swings.
  • Express concern about what the children are seeing or experiencing.
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards or a vehicle.
  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”.
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does; avoid decision making without their partner.
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
  • Begin to use or abuse drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.

Here are some of the ways you can help when you recognize the warning signs of abuse:

  • Talk to her about what you see and assure her that you are concerned. Tell her you believe her and that it is not her fault.
  • Encourage her not to confront her partner if she is planning to leave. Her safety must be protected.
  • Offer to provide childcare while she seeks help.
  • Offer your home as a safe haven to her, her children and pets. If she accepts your offer, do not let her partner in.
  • Encourage her to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case she needs it.
  • Know that you or she can call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, your local shelter, or, in an emergency, the police.


If she denies the abuse:

  • Assure her she can talk to you any time.
  • Don’t become angry or frustrated with her decisions. It is mportant to understand that she may be afraid or not ready to take the next steps.
  • Try to understand why she might be having difficulty getting help. She may feel ashamed.
  • Offer to go with her if she needs additional information or support.
  • If she has children, let her know gently that you are concerned about her and her children’s safety and emotional well-being. She may be more willing to recognize her situation if she recognizes her children may also be in danger.

neighbours friends families logo

“Neighbours, Friends and Families” is a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help. The program in Chatham-Kent is sponsored by the local Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee. To inquire about a speaker, contact the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre, 519-351-9144.

Website resources in French are available at “Voisin-es, ami-es et familles”:

Resources to address woman abuse in Aboriginal communities are available through:

Materials for the “It’s Not Right!” campaign to support older adults are offered in both English and French: