Information for professionals, family and friends.

The majority of women who contact MWSS say that they had heard about the service first from a family member or friend.

Here are some things that indicate that a woman may be experiencing domestic violence:

  • She is afraid of her partner or husband
  • When it comes to her husband/partner, she always seems to be “walking on eggshells”
  • She has unexplained and frequent injuries
  • She seems to have little or no control over what goes on in the relationship/family
  • She has to account to her husband/partner  for money she spends
  • She has to account to her husband/partner for her whereabouts
  • She has become very isolated from family and friends
  • She has stopped going to work/college and social activities

How Can You Help Her to Tell?

  • Don’t ignore your intuition.  If a woman does not disclose you can ask her again at a later date. Asking more than once increases the likelihood that a woman will tell.  Only encourage a woman to tell if you are prepared to listen to her and help her.
  • Approach her in an understanding, non-blaming way
  • Explain to her that she is not alone and that there are many women like her in the same situation
  • Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse
  • Give her time to talk; don’t push her to go into too much detail if she doesn’t want to
  • Tell her that no-one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour

Follow up a Disclosure with a Positive Response

  • Focus on her safety
  • Take the abuse seriously, women who experience domestic violence are often in real physical danger and may be experiencing emotional and sexual abuse.
  • The abuser will see any attempts to access safety as a challenge to his control and he may retaliate.
  • Remember the most dangerous time for a woman is when she tries to leave. Plan safe strategies (see ‘What is Domestic Violence’ – Safety Planning)
  • Never tell a woman or pressurise a woman to do anything.
  • Trust that the woman knows best, what is safe and unsafe for her and her children.
  • Don’t focus on trying to work out why he abuses her.  Focus on what can be done to protect the woman.
  • Encourage her to contact MWSS, local Gardai or local Family Resource Centre.
  • Be non-judgemental and respect a woman’s decisions.  You may not understand or agree with the choices a woman makes but it is important that a woman will not feel judged by you.
  • Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself or her into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser