Recognizing Domestic Abuse

"Stop Violence" written on paper next to a purple domestic abuse awareness ribbon.

Coworkers, friends, and family are very important parts of our lives. One way to keep them safe and loved is to know the signs of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse or violence refers to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone in your life – either same sex or opposite sex. Abuse can be difficult to spot. Often this abuse goes unreported due to fear or wanting to protect the abuser.

Signs of domestic abuse include:

  • Verbal abuse such as insulting, demeaning, or shaming
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with family or friends
  • Intimidation or threats
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Any physical violence or destruction of belongings

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

If you’re worried that a friend, coworker, or family member might be in a harmful situation, your first instinct might be to intervene directly. However, that could cause more harm than good. Rather, consider these actions:

  • Ask them in a private setting if they are safe
  • Provide resources such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline*
  • Offer to drive them to a local shelter
  • Help them file for a restraining order
  • Call the police if you suspect someone is in immediate danger of being harmed
  • Don’t judge or blame them

If you suspect a friend, coworker, or family member of being an abuser, hold them accountable. Help them find treatment, but let them know there are no excuses for abuse. Again, call the police if you suspect someone is in immediate danger of being harmed.

*A list of additional resources:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: Available by phone, chat, or text at any time.

A list of local resources organized by state and territory.

The Department of Justice Domestic Violence homepage.

Information on Protecting Yourself and Your Children from Domestic Violence.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from