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Your friendly neighbor is suddenly acting differently. She rarely wants to leave the house. She has injuries and pains that come with odd excuses. Could it be domestic violence?

Did You Know?

9 sec Every 9 seconds, a woman is physically assaulted in the U.S.
98% The percentage of domestic violence cases that involve financial abuse

Every year an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence — and financial issues are usually the number one reason women stay in these relationships.

Unfortunately, the majority of these millions suffer in silence. But if you are aware of the signs of abuse, you might make a big difference in her life.

Actions Speak Louder Admitting abuse can be difficult for the victim, especially if she fears for her life or the lives of her children. Common warning signs may say what the victim cannot:

  • Frequent injuries such as bruises or blacked eyes explained as “accidents”
  • Fearful or anxious behavior regarding her partner’s reaction
  • Complete compliance to the demands of her partner
  • Unexplained absences from work and other obligations
  • Frequent, harassing phone calls from her partner
  • Restrictions on money, credit cards or the car
  • Low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or talk of suicide

Conversation Starters

“You are not alone."
"I am here for you, no matter what.”

Even if you don’t agree with all of her decisions, let her know that you’ll be there to support her.

“I see what is going on with you and your partner. I’m concerned and I want to help.”

Situations like these can be dangerous. You can help her recognize and acknowledge that she may not be safe.

“I’m here to help and am always available, even if you don’t want to talk about it.”

Don’t be confrontational. It’s possible that she’s not ready to take steps yet.

“Here is the number for our local domestic violence agency. They can provide shelter, counseling or support groups.”

A simple offer of resources can move the conversation and the solution along quickly.

Read more about what you can say at Purple Purse.

Speak Up When She Can’t Although many want to help, a recent survey showed that only about 50% of Americans know how. It can be difficult to know what to say to a neighbor, family member or friend in this situation. A good start? Showing your sincere concern.

Let her know that she’s not alone. Many victims have been isolated by the abuser from family and friends. Make her aware of options and resources. Provide a list of local domestic violence agencies or hotline numbers, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE). Suggest that she develop a safety plan, and offer to go with her to the police or an attorney.

Each day more than three women in the U.S. die because of intimate partner violence, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Assisting someone who you suspect is a victim of abuse takes a little courage, but it may save a life.

A Statement in Purple

Learn what the Allstate Foundation is doing to raise awareness of financial abuse and help victims at purplepurse.com.