the warning signs and risk factors of abuse.
There are powerful societal reasons why seeing and naming abuse can be challenging.
- Abusive behaviour makes people feel uncomfortable and/or afraid. The social norm to “mind your own business” is hard to overcome.
- People experiencing abuse themselves can often have difficulty ‘seeing’ what is happening to them as abuse or even recognize the danger they are in.
- As a society, we are trained in many ways not to see.
Learning to See it – Name it – Check it - is a matter of understanding it as a process of small steps. SNCit to open the door for support.
- Notice a gut feeling that something is not right
- Find the willingness to look squarely at the situation
- What are the warning signs? Are there risk factors involved?
- Name your concern; to yourself first
- Name your concern “I am worried about you…”
- Name the reason for your concern; “I saw or I heard” JUST the facts!
- Be careful not to judge or jump to conclusions – it may not be abuse
- Don’t sit in isolation – overcome your hesitation
- Check the situation; is it dangerous? Trust your instincts. If so, call 911
- Check yourself; don't try to fix it – ask questions
- Check with a professional e.g. your office safety coordinator, HR Manager, woman abuse counsellor: Name what you saw (just the facts) and then ask questions about what to do
- Check it with the woman; is she open to hearing from you at this time? Are you the right person to ask her about the situation?
Helpful suggestions for what to say: I'm concerned about you. Is everything OK? Is there anything I can do to help?” “I am here for you.” And if you feel she is open to it, “Are you being hurt?”
Be prepared to handle a disclosure – “I believe you.” “It’s not your fault.”