If you suspect domestic or sexual violence is happening to a friend, family member, colleague, classmate or neighbor you can help and support them in a variety of ways.
Notice that something is wrong. Be aware of the signs of an abusive relationship.
Talk about the abuse or violence.
- Tell her/him/they what you see. Ask direct questions about their abuse, gently. Give them time to talk. Ask again a few days later. Don’t rush into providing a solution.
“I noticed a bruise on your arm…”
- Express concern for their well-being and assure them they did not cause, or ask, for the abuse.
“I am worried about you…this is not your fault”
- Show support. If they choose to talk about the abuse, listen without passing judgment or telling them what they should have done. The victim knows what is safest for them and their children. You can emphasize that domestic violence tends to get worse and becomes more frequent with time and that it doesn’t go away on its own.
“No one deserves to be hurt, however, I will respect whatever decision you make.”
- Refer, Refer, Refer! You don’t have to be the expert. There are trained professionals in your community. CFJ is one. (See our hotline numbers below.)
If somebody you know begins to talk about abuse or violence:
- Just listen.
- Keep it confidential (if possible).
- Provide information, not advice.
- Be there and be patient.
- Let them know that domestic violence is against the law. They have the option of calling the police for help.
- Offer to keep or store important items and documents at your home/office that can be readily available should they need to leave an abusive situation quickly.
How to contact The Center for Family Justice:
Our 24/7 hotlines
- Domestic violence: (203) 384-9559
- Sexual assault Hotline: (203) 333-2233
- Spanish-Speaking, Vedas Hotline: 1-888-568-8332
- If all else fails, InfoLine 211 can connect you
- A person wishing to access our services can simply walk-in during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.
- If you are a professional, and want to discuss a situation with a counselor, call (203) 334-6154 during normal business hours.
What You Can Do If You Suspect You Might Be Abusing a Child
- Learn what is age appropriate and what is not. Having realistic expectations of what children can handle at certain ages will help you avoid frustration and anger at normal child behavior. For example, newborns are not going to sleep through the night without a peep, and toddlers are not going to be able to sit quietly for extended periods of time.
- Develop new parenting skills. While learning to control your emotions is critical, you also need a game plan of what you are going to do instead. Start by learning appropriate discipline techniques and how to set clear boundaries for your children. Parenting classes, books, and seminars are a way to get this information. You can also turn to other parents for tips and advice.
- Take care of yourself. If you are not getting enough rest and support or you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are much more likely to succumb to anger. Sleep deprivation, common in parents of young children, adds to moodiness and irritability — exactly what you are trying to avoid.
- Get professional help. Breaking the cycle of abuse can be very difficult if the patterns are strongly entrenched. If you can’t seem to stop yourself no matter how hard you try, it’s time to get help, be it therapy, parenting classes or other interventions. Your children will thank you for it. Contact The Center for Family Justice for more information.
- Learn how you can get your emotions under control. The first step to getting your emotions under control is realizing that they are there. If you were abused as a child, you may have an especially difficult time getting in touch with your range of emotions. You may have had to deny or repress them as a child, and now they spill out without your control.
Hope Starts Here!
Let The Center for Family Justice become your lifeline.
Please call us today at 203-334-6154
Or 24/7 on a hotline:
Domestic violence: 203-384-9559
Sexual assault: 203-333-2233
Vedas (Spanish): 888-568-8332
Serving victims and raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull in Fairfield County