It can be hard to know when to get involved in another’s personal life or when to stay silent if you suspect domestic abuse. Taking action in a situation where someone is being hurt can seem like intruding or meddling, but you could be the one to save or change that victim’s life by helping break the cycle of violence.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, there are ways to help someone you suspect is being abused; and, you can protect yourself as well.
Call the police or 911. You may overhear a fight that you suspect is turning violent and if this occurs, you should call the police. These calls can be anonymous. If you choose to get involved and offer your report to the police, they can help protect you.
Keep a record of what you see/hear and when. Sometimes arguments can turn loud and scary, but they may not be violent. Try to keep a record of what you have heard. If you suspect an argument has escalated into violence, this record may ultimately help the victim if you come forward with this information.
Approach your landlord with concerns. If you suspect a neighbor is being abused, talk with the management team on site who may be able to approach the neighbor and offer support.
Talk with the victim. If you know your neighbor, you could be the person to ask them if they need help and guide them to the right resources to help them leave the abusive situation.
Don’t get involved in the argument. If you suspect someone is being abused, it may be dangerous to get personally involved. These difficult situations are best left to trained professionals.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers advocates who can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or online at www.thehotline.org