Information for Family Members

The most important thing you can do if you believe a loved one is in an abusive relationship is to listen. You can give support by showing concern, listening and being there when needed. You may want to take action immediately however, the person may not be ready to leave their abuser due to various reasons. It is best not to offer specific advice about leaving but rather educate yourself on the resources that are in your community so that you may direct your loved one to these organizations. It must be the person’s decision to leave.

If your loved one decides to leave this abusive relationship – there is nothing simple about the situation. If you believe that someone’s life may be at risk, contact the police. If there are children involved and are in danger it is important to contact the child abuse hotline. There are different types of abuse that your loved one might be going through. They can include physical, emotional/verbal, psychological, sexual, financial, spiritual abuse and harassment/stalking. 

Signs of Family Violence

  • Bruising or injuries, often blamed on clumsiness or accidents
  • Unseasonable clothing (wearing turtlenecks or long sleeves in the summer) that may cover bruising
  • Changes in ability to concentrate
  • Unexplained absences from work
  • Upsetting phone calls throughout the day
  • Uncharacteristic sadness, withdrawal or exhaustion
  • Uncharacteristic fear or anxiety
  • Hints about trouble at home (partner’s bad temper, alcohol use, third-party concerns)
  • Controlling behavior of family member

Why Do They Stay?

There are so many reasons why someone might stay with their abuser. These are just a few of the reasons:

Internal Reasons

  • Fear (of being alone, of his threats, of being judged, etc.)
  • Self-blame
  • Anger
  • Mental Health (Depression)
  • Want the relationship to succeed
  • For love
  • Self-doubt
  • Belief/hope that he’ll change
  • Low self-esteem

External Reasons

  • No real protection
  • Lack of access to protective orders
  • Lack of shelter
  • No transportation (to escape)
  • Lack of child care
  • Fear for pets
  • Lack of health care
  • No affordable housing
  • Lack of language accessible services
  • Financial

Cycle of Abuse

We at PCWESA believe that education is key to stopping the cycle of abuse. Outreach is available to give the attached workshop with clients.