Passionate | Experienced | Strategic

How to Spot if a Friend is the Victim of Domestic Abuse

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Domestic Violence

The Washington State Health Assessment says that about 15% of people in the USA experience domestic violence at least once in their lifetimes. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also says about 20 people are abused by their partners every minute. This prevalence of domestic violence is worrying because most cases go unreported, and victims continue to be abused for a long time, sometimes multiple years or decades.

Since these are intimate incidents, it can be difficult to know if someone is being abused so you can help them contact a family law attorney to get out of that situation. However, some signs are much harder to conceal and justify further investigation to understand what is going on.

Injuries and Excuses

Domestic abuse that escalates to violence leads to bruises and injuries. Sometimes they are in obvious places like the face and hands, but they may be hidden if covered by clothing. The victim may then have to miss work as they recover or make excuses about what happened.

Victims of domestic abuse may choose not to reveal details about their experience due to fear of the perpetrator’s reaction or to avoid embarrassment about their injuries.

Their Partner Does Not Like Them Spending Time with Others

Spending less time with a friend in a new relationship is normal. However, it can be worrying if you do not see them for long periods. You should suspect something is not right if this happens because leading psychologists say domestic abuse perpetrators do not want their victims to spend time with other people or outside the relationship.

There are many reasons why this could be the case. For example, the perpetrator will not want others to see the bruises and injuries they have inflicted, or it may be a case of possessiveness and jealousy.

It often follows that if your friend’s partner does not allow them to see you, there is a chance your friend is cut off from other people and likely the rest of the world. It is best to get the police involved to look into it, and encourage your friend to contact a family law attorney specializing in domestic abuse to help them when you can reach out and talk to them.

They Start Changing or Canceling Plans

Changing or canceling plans is not uncommon since people have busy lives and are trying to balance family, work, and other responsibilities. However, a friend might start doing this so regularly that it becomes out of character.

If you suspect they are doing so because their partner is controlling their movements, you may have uncovered a case of domestic abuse. One component of abusive relationships is control, and restricting movement is a common part of it.

Your friend might also keep to the plans but may spend a lot of time checking the time or on social media checking in. This could be another control mechanism that indicates abuse.

Personality Changes

The presence or absence of physical abuse does not mean the absence of emotional abuse. Abusers tend to want to break their victims emotionally so that they are solely dependent on them. One sign to watch out for to see if this is happening is personality changes.

A person who used to be bubbly and cheerful might start looking sad all the time. They may also lose their self-esteem and start being shy when their partner is around them. When they lose control like this, they will often agree with their partner regardless of the situation or when they have a differing opinion.

They Start Blaming Themselves for Everything

Abuse victims often blame themselves for everything that goes wrong, even when they were not present, or it wasn’t their fault. In most cases, they do not want to attribute what happened to the perpetrator because they fear retaliation. In others, they blame themselves because they have lower self-esteem due to the abuse they are going through.

Domestic abuse is a serious issue that does not get reported on enough. While it can be difficult to untangle, victims can get help through several avenues. Our attorneys at Northwest Family Law, P.S. help domestic abuse survivors, are devoted to helping them overcome the challenges of abusive relationships and can ensure they have the legal protections they deserve.

If you need more information, you can visit our offices to talk to our attorneys at the following locations:

  • Kirkland – 1207 Market St. Kirkland, WA 98033

Encourage your friend to call us now for a free consultation at (206) 792-0981 so we can help them find safety.