How to React if You Suspect Someone Affected by Domestic Abuse

end the silence

How to React if You Suspect Someone is Affected by Domestic Abuse

Here in Canada we know that one in three women will suffer violence in their lifetime. This startling statistic means that it is likely you know a woman affected by violence. Do you know what to do if you suspect domestic abuse? If someone close to you discloses abuse, how should you react?

  1. Identify your concerns. “I’ve noticed that you have had some bruises lately. You seem withdrawn and nervous. Is something going on? You can talk to me”.
  2. Don’t accuse or get angry.
  3. Provide information, not advice. Offer resources – our 24/7 support line is always available.
  4. Don’t judge if they don’t appear to take action. Leaving an abusive relationship is statistically the most dangerous time for a woman. When an abuser senses that they are losing control over their partner, they will act out to reassert their power. It takes an average of seven attempts to end the relationship. Be patient, show support.
  5. In all cases, when a woman discloses abuse, it is important to get in touch with a professional to discuss how to plan for her safety – whether she plans to leave the relationship or not.

Article by Gillian’s Place

For more advice on helping a friend or family member, or to make a safety plan, call one of the 24/7 support line at

  • St. Catharines Area: Gillian’s Place 24/7 support line at (905) 684-8331
  • Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, and Pelham: Women’s Place 24/7 support line at (905) 788- 0113
  • Niagara Falls, Fort Erie:Women’s Place 24/7 support line at (905) 356-5800

For information on community resources contact you Unifor Woman’s Advocate – Donna Higham at (905) 641-6559.