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How to know if a loved one is a victim of domestic violence

As we have reported before, domestic violence continues to be a problem around the country and in the state of Georgia. While high profile cases involving celebrities and athletes make the news, often the problem can be much closer to home, when one suspects that a friend or family member is being abused by a spouse or significant other. Unfortunately, this can be a complex and stressful problem, as it is difficult to know how to approach such a personal and potentially dangerous situation.

The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an organization that represents various groups that help victims of domestic violence and produces publications that can help the public understand a little more about these situations. While there is rarely a way to know for sure what is happening behind closed doors, the GCADV puts out a brochure that lists some basic signals that all may not be well in a friend or family member's relationship.

For example, as one of the hallmarks of domestic abuse is isolation, an increased frequency in turning down invitations to social engagements or missing work or seeming withdrawn or isolated personally could be the sign of potential problem. Control is often another big factor in these situations, so an abnormally large number of communications with a partner when not together, such as constant texting or calling, or having to 'check-in' may also be indicative of potential abuse.

More obviously, unexplained physical injuries or those with explanations that don't seem to make sense, as well as sensitivity on the part of the individual when it is suggested things may not be alright at home may be signs of abuse. A partner who is verbally abusive or degrading in public is also a potential problem.

As noted above, while it is often impossible to be sure what's happening, making it clear to a loved one that may be being abused that he or she has options may be the best thing that can be done for him or her. There are ways to go about this which we may explore in a later post. It is important to remember that domestic violence rarely gets better on its own, and can often escalate.

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