How To Help Friends Or Family In Domestic Violence Situations
If you know someone in a domestic violence situation, you may want to do all you can to help and support that person, but you’re unsure where to begin or approach the situation. Domestic violence comes in many different forms, and while both men and women can be both abusers and victims, the overwhelming number of domestic violence victims are women. Your response to your friend or family member’s situation could be the difference between them seeking help or staying silent. At Collective Family Law Group, we have extensive experience handling sensitive domestic violence cases. We want to empower the friends and families of victims to step up and provide the right kind of support. If you or someone you know needs the help of a domestic violence lawyer in Brisbane, the Collective Family Law Group team is here to offer our support.
How To Recognise Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence doesn’t always appear in the form of bruises. In fact, one of the most prevalent types of abuse, emotional abuse, is the hardest to detect because it leaves no visible evidence. Here are a few red flags that signal someone you know may be suffering from domestic violence.
They seem afraid of their partner. If your friend or family member seems fearful of making their partner angry and they’re always anxious to please them, they may be suffering from domestic violence at home.
They cancel plans often. If they cancel plans at the last minute or stop seeing their friends and family altogether, they may be under the influence of their abusive partner.
Their partner is overly attentive. Another sign of domestic abuse is a person who remains by their partner’s side and is watchful or controlling about who their partner talks to. They may become jealous and possessive, accusing their partner of cheating or seeing other people. An abuser may even continually call or text when their partner is out of the house or insist their partner call them at predetermined times.
They aren’t acting like themselves. If your friend or family member is acting strangely, they may be a victim of domestic violence. They might appear more anxious, depressed, quiet, and lacking confidence. They may hang up or talk more quietly on the phone when their partner is in the room, and they might seem to be constantly on edge. If your friend or family member has kids, monitor their behaviour for signs of fear, anxiety, or exhaustion.
Their partner controls their activities. The primary purpose of domestic violence is to exert control over a victim. For example, an abuser may control the family’s finances, giving their partner no access to money or requiring them to justify every cent spent. The abuser may dictate the way their partner dresses, decide where or if they work, and where they spend their time.
They have evidence of physical violence. If your friend or a family member has regular bruises, sprains, or cuts on their body that they deem ‘accidents’ or brush off, this might be evidence of physical violence.
Their partner abuses them publicly. If you notice your friend or family member’s partner ridiculing or insulting them publicly or you sense hostility in their comments, there may be ongoing domestic violence in their relationship.
Questions You Should Never Ask A Domestic Violence Victim
When attempting to help your loved one out of a domestic violence situation, it’s important to remember that everyone copes with trauma differently. No one knows how they would act in such a situation until they are facing it themselves, so there are a few questions that you should avoid asking.
“Why don’t you just leave?”. This is the most common question domestic violence survivors hear from friends, families, and strangers. Unfortunately, ‘just leaving’ often isn’t that simple. Some people are financially tied to their abuser, some are scared to think of what might happen if they tried to leave the situation, and others genuinely love and care for their abuser. Additionally, many domestic violence victims have children in the relationship to consider, and they don’t want to leave the kids alone with their violent partner. There are so many reasons why a domestic violence victim won’t leave the relationship, so don’t ask why. Instead, simply give them all the support you can.
“Why do you think this happened to you?”. There is no rational or logical answer to this question, as domestic violence isn’t logical or rational. In fact, asking this question insinuates that the victim has somehow brought the violence onto themselves. The primary motive for domestic violence is an abuser’s desire for control over their victim, which has nothing to do with the victim’s actions.
“Didn’t you see the warning signs that something was wrong?”. Domestic violence has many faces, some of which are easier to spot than others. Sometimes, an abuser won’t have their first violent outburst until many years into the relationship. Other times, the abuser will slowly build control until the victim feels trapped. Often, an abuser will act violently and then be extra nice, apologetic, and affectionate toward their partner, promising it will never happen again.
“What is your partner doing to you? You don’t look like you’re suffering DV”. Not all forms of domestic violence are physical, and the scars don’t always come in bruises and cuts. If your loved one comes to you for support, make sure you provide help in any way you can and try to refrain from asking too many invasive questions.
What Can You Do To Help?
It’s normal to feel helpless when a loved one is suffering from a violent relationship, but you can do things to support them.
Listen without judgement. If your friend or family member confides in you, it will have taken a lot for them to work up the courage to talk to you. Make sure you don’t question them and believe them at face value. Try to remember that their abuser will be showing you a very different side of themselves to what the victim sees.
Help to build their confidence. An abuser will do everything they can to make their victim question themselves and lower their self-esteem. You’ll need to support your loved ones and help build their self-worth back up again. Tell your loved one they are brave, smart, and valued. Make sure you remind them that this isn’t their fault.
Encourage them to think about protecting themselves. Talk to your loved one about how they can go about protecting themselves and their children without pushing them to leave or take action. It’s so important to respect their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.
Provide practical help. Offer to mind the children, cook them a meal, and provide a safe place to stay. Ensure your loved one knows they aren’t alone and help is available if they choose to take it.
Maintain regular contact. A domestic violence perpetrator will often try to isolate their victim, so you must maintain regular contact to make sure they are safe.
Seek information from domestic violence lawyers in Brisbane. Even if your loved one isn’t ready to seek legal advice and help, you can collect information that may be useful to them further down the track. Give the team at Collective Family Law Group a call, and our domestic violence lawyers will try to provide as much information as possible.
If You Need A Domestic Violence Lawyer In Brisbane, Call Collective Family Law Group
At Collective Family Law Group, our practice focuses exclusively on family law matters. We’re industry experts in all matters of family law, including but not limited to matters of separation, property settlement, domestic violence, financial agreements, divorce, and child support. We strive to provide quality legal services with a resolution-focused approach to our clients’ needs, and our team offer practical legal advice and solutions in a professional, approachable manner. If you need a domestic violence lawyer in Brisbane, contact Collective Family Law Group today.
We are committed to the efficient and prompt resolution of family law matters, in the most cost effective manner possible.
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These guys have been absolutely amazing with helping me with my case as it has been tough but they have helped me get through it. Honestly the team have been so amazing and have helped me with been able to get the courage to get through this situation and they have been so supportive. The service has been fantastic as they have checked up on me and my family constantly to see how we have been going through out the process. I would highly recommend Collective Family Law Group to any one seeking assistance in a family law matter. Yours Faithfully, Mark.
I cannot speak highly enough about the team at Collective Family Law. I was going though a very hard time emotionally and financially and received nothing but compassion and support. If you need a family lawyer please look no further than this group of high knowledgeable and skilled people, you’ll be glad you did. Yours faithfull Brendan.
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The team at Collective Family Law Group helped me navigate through a very difficult time in my life. I appreciated their honest, straight forward approach and would recommend them to anyone needing family law work done.
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