Watching someone be abused—or even suspecting that they’re a victim—is a fraught situation. Approaching a victim or their abuser in the wrong way could lead to further abuse, and not just for the victim. Some abusers, when challenged, will act out and attack others as well. You might be wondering if you’re imagining what you see, if you should speak up or if it’s even any of your business. What’s worse, victims of domestic violence are often gaslit into believing they’re not being abused, or that they deserve it.
When you suspect that someone is a victim of domestic violence, there are a few safe ways that you can try to help, including by reaching out to a domestic violence lawyer in Cincinnati, OH. We advise using a great deal of caution to protect both yourself and the victim—before you take any action, make sure there are other people around and try to verify that the abuser isn’t armed.
Here are some safety-conscious ways that you can help if you suspect that someone is being abused:
- Call the police: If you’re witnessing physical abuse or hear threats of physical abuse, call the police immediately. However, if you only suspect abuse, the police may not show up right away or at all; in that case it’s best to call the non-emergency line and ask what you can do to help.
- Get other help: If you’re in public, ask a bystander, employee or person of authority to step up and help you, either by coming with you to see if the victim needs help or asking the abuser to leave. This might also be a good time to record the encounter with your phone, so the abuser knows their behavior is going on record. As always, exercise extreme caution when confronting an abuser.
- Distract and inform: If you’re in a store, consider asking the victim for their opinion on something in another aisle. If you’re in public, you might pretend to be an old friend of the victim. If you can separate them from their abuser, you can also take that opportunity to tell them that you’re concerned, that they don’t deserve that treatment and that there are multiple resources to help. The victim may deny that abuse is going on, or not recognize it themselves, but it could also be an eye-opening moment for them.
- Make your presence known: If you’re in a deserted area where someone is having a potentially abusive altercation, you can always make noise to signal that there are witnesses to the scene. This could include everything from coughing loudly to having a pretend conversation on your phone. Be cognizant of your own safety first, but consider this non-confrontational way to intervene.
More than 10 million people each year are physically abused in the U.S., many of whom do not report their abusers to the police for fear of retribution. Sometimes, the assistance of a helpful bystander or loved one can mean the difference between continued suffering or escaping.
If you need a lawyer to provide domestic violence help in Cincinnati, OH, contact an attorney at Herzner Law, LLC. Our highly-rated firm is ready to represent you.
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