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Is Someone You Love Being Abused?

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Is Someone You Love Being Abused? [EXPERT]
Don't wait another minute.
Take these 5 steps if someone you love is the victim of domestic violence.

Before continuing, gauge her willingness to continue to conversation. If she's not willing, give her some space to think about what you've said.

Don't bring it up again. Instead, wait for signs that she's ready to talk about it, unless you're convinced that waiting will lead to disaster or worse.

When relationships are in extreme dire straits and she has the potential of being harmed, be firm but caring in expressing your belief that she must make a life-or-death choice. Your frankness may cost you the friendship, but it may also give your friend the courage to take action.

4. Remind your friend or relative that her partner might be monitoring her behavior. If she searches for information and resources on her own, she must be careful. It's hard to fully eradicate a browsing history.

If her significant other is as controlling as he apears to be, he most likely monitors her calls and computer usage. So, be sure to remind her not to access information from a device that he has access to. Instead, she should visit the library or the home of a sympathetic friend to contact the appropriate authorities.

Remember, if she can't imagine life without her abusive partner, getting her to see that she deserves better treatment will be a slow process. Your support and friendship can make a huge difference in her life — but you've got to approach the situation carefully and with utmost concern for your own safety as well as hers.

5. If she chooses to leave, encourage her to first create and execute a custom-designed safety plan and find safe, secure emergency and longer-term shelter. She must choose a safe and secure destination for herself and her children, if she has kids.

When a domestic violence victim leaves an abusive relationship, the risk of death at the hands of an abuser goes up significantly for the victim, her children, and any helpers who get involved. So don't entertain fantasies of giving her shelter unless you're willing to risk harm.

If you don't know how to find safe, secure emergency shelters in your area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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