Getting involved in a domestic violence dispute can be potentially dangerous for you and can exacerbate the situation causing the abuser to react more violently towards the person you were attempting to save. Understandably, people don’t want to get involved because of fear. However, domestic violence situations often isolate the victim, leaving them with little to no way out unless someone does intervene on their behalf. Domestic violence situations are often complex and nuanced, but doing nothing does nothing to help. Victims cannot always stand up for themselves, so they need friends, family, and even strangers to step in and lend a hand.
It’s valid to be afraid of intervening in a domestic violence dispute. Thankfully, there are ways to intervene and help the victim safely. However, it’s vital to proceed in these situations with extreme caution and always listen to your gut. If you wish to intervene in a domestic violence situation, only do so if:
If you believe it is safe to intervene if you’re witnessing domestic violence, here are five steps to take.
Before approaching the situation and getting physically involved, you must call law enforcement. The 911 operator will likely ask you a series of questions to assess the situation for the responding officer. Try to answer these questions in as much detail as possible. Answering as thoroughly as possible will help the responding officer when they arrive at the scene. Furthermore, by calling the police before approaching the situation, you can feel more confident because you know there is help on the way.
As mentioned earlier, you should only intervene in domestic violence disputes if other people are around. Abusers are less likely to react in their true demeanor with too many eyes on them. They typically like to keep up a facade that helps them control their victims. Take extra precautions by asking a friend or someone to help approach the situation. There is strength in numbers, and having people wanting to help can go a long way in making the victim feel heard and seen.
It’s important to note that intervening in these situations is not about approaching the abuser and telling them to stop their behavior. Instead, the goal is to prevent further harm until law enforcement can arrive. Usually, the best way to do this is to pretend there’s nothing wrong and distract the abuser somehow. A great way to distract the abuser is by striking up a conversation with them; this may include asking for directions or commenting on something in the area. Additionally, creating a disturbance with great noise is beneficial. The loud sound will likely distract the abuser, even confuse them long enough for help to arrive.
The most important thing is your safety and the safety of anyone the abuser may harm. If you believe it’s safe to do so, consider separating the couple. Depending on the environment, you could say you want to show the victim something or say that you need help with a specific task. Once you and the victim are away from the abuser, you can inform them that help is on the way and ask if they need further assistance. It’s common for victims to feel alone as their abuser likely has them isolated from friends and loved ones. Your assistance and offered friendship can be a significant gesture.
Domestic violence is a social issue. Anyone can become a victim regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or income. Domestic violence is not a private issue between adults; it often involves community safety and public health. Knowing how to report domestic violence is a significant step forward in combating the issue.
At Fighter Law, we understand that domestic violence is a complex situation that requires extensive knowledge, legally and psychologically. We have a unique understanding of how these cases operate and help develop the best legal strategy possible for your situation. Our team of board-certified attorneys will provide you with unmatched legal counsel and work tirelessly to help achieve the best possible outcome. You can schedule a consultation with us at (407) 344-4837 or by filling out our contact form.
Fill out the form below for a free evaluation of your case.