Talking With Victims of Domestic Violence …

It is critical that communication around family violence is not judgmental or blaming towards the victim.  Language such as “you should…” and “why didn’t you…” should not be used.  Victims often are balancing many variables that as an outside person we may not be aware of.  Unfortunately, sometimes it is not as easy as ‘just leaving’.  By offering support and resources, a victim may gain the needed assistance to eventually leave their family’s abuser.

After being isolated in an abusive relationship breaking the silence takes tremendous courage – tell them this!

Help is available!

Supportive Statements

  • I believe you
  • I am afraid for you
  • You do not deserve to be abused
  • It’s not your fault he or she treats you that badly
  • You are not responsible for his or her behavior
  • No matter what you did, you do not deserve this
  • You are not responsible for your partner’s violence.
  • You don’t deserve to be treated that way, good partners don’t say or do those kinds of things.”


Questions About the Abusers Behaviors

  • We know that women stay with abusive men for a lot of reasons—for financial support, out of love, because they feel sorry for him, because they’re too afraid to leave, because they can’t bear to leave their pets, because they can’t afford to leave, because they have children together, and so on.
    • Are any of those true for you?
  • What do you feel most afraid of with him?
  • I’m worried about your safety as well as your children’s safety
    • What do you feel most afraid of with him?
  • How does your ratner treat the kids?
    • Are the kids afraid of their dad?
  • How does he treat the kids? Are the kids afraid of their dad?
  • Has he ever hit any of the kids? Has he ever assaulted you while you were holding your child?
  • Has he ever threatened to kidnap the kids or to get custody so you can’t see them?
  • Does your partner drink or use drugs? How frequently? How does they act when they are drinking or doing drugs?
  • Is your partner an extremely jealous person? Can you tell us about that?
  • Is his violence or abusiveness getting worse, or happening more frequently? Can you tell us about that?
  • Does your partner have access to weapons? Has he ever threatened to use them on you?
  • Has your partner ever threatened to kill you, the kids, your pets or himself?
  • Do you believe that your partner could kill you, your pet or the children?


Safety Planning  Related Questions

  • Do you have a safety plan?
    • For yourself?
    • For your children?
    • For your animals?
  • Can we reach out to anyone who can support you and help you stay safe—a friend, a family member, a pastor?
  • Do you have family or friends who know what’s happening, or who you could tell?
  • How can they be part of the safety plan?
  • Can we connect you with someone from (battered women’s program) to do safety planning? What if we call them right now?
  • Have you ever had a conversation with your kids about what to do if their father becomes violent? Safety planning with kids can help them feel safer because they know what to do—go to a neighbor’s house or into the other room, stay out of the fight, call 911, etc.

If you are concerned about the safety of someone or to learn about services in your area, click on this link for the   Colorado Coaltion Against Domestic Violence  or 

contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.