Warning signs for neighbours, friends, and families

Reprinted from the Neighbours, Friends and Families Campaign

Woman in distress

RECOGNIZE that a neighbour, friend or family may be involved in an abusive relationship

RECOGNIZE that a neighbour, friend or family may be involved in an abusive relationship. You might also notice these signs in a co-worker. See the indications of abuse. Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • She may be apologetic and makes excuses for his behaviour or becomes aggressive and angry
  • She is nervous about talking when he’s there
  • She seems to be sick more often and misses work
  • She tries to cover her bruises
  • She makes excuses at the last minute about why she can’t meet you or she tries to avoid you on the street.
  • She seems sad, lonely, withdrawn and is afraid
  • She uses more drugs or alcohol to cope

Visible warning signs that may indicate an abusive temperament

Someone who is behaves abusively may try to present himself in a positive light.  He may seem like a ‘nice guy’ sometimes.  Below are some visible warning signs that may indicate an abusive temperament:

  • He puts her down
  • He does all the talking and dominates the conversation
  • He checks up on her all the time, even at work
  • He tries to suggest he is the victim and acts depressed
  • He tries to keep her away from you
  • He acts as if he owns her
  • He lies to make himself look good or exaggerates his good qualities
  • He acts like he is superior and of more value than others in his home

Signs of high risk

THE DANGER may be greater if:

  • She has just separated or is planning to leave
  • She fears for her life and for her children’s safety or she cannot see her risk
  • She is in a custody battle, or has children from a previous relationship
  • She is involved in another relationship
  • She has unexplained injuries
  • She has no access to a phone
  • She faces other obstacles (e.g. she does not speak English, is not yet a legal resident of Canada, lives in a remote area)
  • She has no friends or family
  • He has access to her and her children
  • He has access to weapons
  • He has a history of abuse with her or others
  • He has threatened to harm or kill her if she leaves him: He says "If I can't have you, no one will."
  • He threatens to harm her children, her pets or her property
  • He has threatened to kill himself
  • He has hit her, choked her
  • He is going through major life changes (e.g. job, separation, depression)
  • He is convinced she is seeing someone else.
  • He blames her for ruining his life
  • He doesn’t seek support
  • He watches her actions, listens to her telephone conversations, sees her emails and follows her
  • He has trouble keeping a job
  • He takes drugs or drinks every day
  • He has no respect for the law