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How Do I Know if Someone Is Being Abused?

When someone is in an abusive relationship — either romantic or not — they may not realize that they are being abused. Other times the person being abused may not feel as if it is safe for them to leave the relationship. Being aware of the signs that someone is being abused can help individuals leave toxic situations and begin receiving the help they need.

What Are the Signs of Abuse?

Abuse can take many forms, and the signs for each kind of abuse can be difficult to spot. In identifying these signs, you can help stop abuse in its tracks.

Physical Abuse

  • Bruises
  • Black eyes
  • Open wounds
  • Scrapes
  • Changes in behavior
  • Reports of being hit or mistreated in some way
  • Broken glasses or frames
  • Chipped teeth

Sexual Abuse

  • Bruises around genitals
  • Genital bleeding
  • Torn or stained clothing
  • Genital infections
  • Reports of sexual abuse

Mental or Emotional Abuse

  • Emotionally upset or agitated
  • Anxiety around certain individuals
  • Withdrawn
  • Non-responsive
  • Reports of being mentally or verbally abused


  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated health issues
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions


  • Unexplained changes in financial status
  • Changes in spending habits
  • Valuable possessions disappearing
  • Unpaid bills

How Do I Help?

If you suspect that an individual is being abused in one way or another, try to remain calm. It is important to talk to the individual, but you must be calm and considerate of their feelings. It is extremely difficult to be in an abusive relationship, and leaving can seem impossible.

Be empathic about these feelings. Explain what behaviors and indications you have noticed, and simply express your concern. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them, and let them know that there are helpful resources you can help them find. If they deny your offers, do not press too much. Simply say okay, and let them know that you are there for them always, at any time.

If you fear their lives are in danger, make a report to your local law enforcement. In these situations, it is better to be safe than sorry.

You cannot control another person, but you can remind them that there is hope for a better future. Let them know about trained professionals that can help them, and be sure to give them the National Domestic Violence Hotline number: 800-799-723.

Abuse of any kind is extremely serious. Knowing the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation can help a person get out of a dangerous situation. If you suspect that someone is in an abusive situation, calmly talk to them and express your concerns. Offer resources that can help them. One such resource can be our information at The Guest House. We help treat individuals who were involved in abusive situations. To help an individual get the necessary treatment, call (855) 483-7800 today.