Are You Concerned a Friend May Be Suffering from Domestic Violence?


If you suspect that someone close to you is suffering from domestic violence, you may not know how to approach them to ask. Often, direct questions that come across with the wrong tone can cause victims to 'clam up' and deny any knowledge of abuse.

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What Questions Could I Ask?

Some people are just a question away from admitting they need help. However, others sometimes need extra support or information to make a decision.

Our family law team, headed by Emma Pearmaine, has put together a list of questions you could ask if you believe someone you love is experiencing domestic violence.

Some of the more obvious questions include:

  • Does your partner impose rules with punishments?
  • What are you afraid of? It is injury or violence?
  • as your partner ever forced you to do something you really didn't want to do?
  • Is your partner unreasonable or controlling?
  • Are you frightened of your partner?

These are just some of the questions you can ask a friend or relative. When you ask the questions is up to you to decide. Because of the sensitive nature and stigma attached to domestic violence, asking any questions in the wrong context may lead to that person never speaking about the violence that they have suffered. This could equally put them in harm's way.

What If The Violence Is Not Physical?

Sometimes the abuse that the victim will suffer will not always be known even to them or may not be physical - asking the right questions could lead to them being more aware. Questions like this include:

  • Is your partner cruel to the family pet?
  • Does your partner control household finances?
  • Is your partner excessively jealous?
  • Has your partner prevented you from doing things that you enjoy?
  • Does your partner constantly text, call, contact, follow, stalk or harass you?

Trying to not arouse suspicion on your part is probably the hardest part of asking your loved one if they have suffered domestic violence or abuse. Their reaction depending on the questions may tell you more than they ever could using words. However, do not assume anything as this may offend them and cause them to cut you off.

If your friend or loved one does come to you for advice in any of these types of situations, try to encourage them to seek help. The law is there to protect victims of domestic violence and help them and any children they have to live a normal life free from abusive behaviour.

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