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Warning Signs

Friends and family often make the mistake of thinking that abuse survivors are easy to spot because they have obvious physical injuries such as a black eye or broken arm. Although that is sometimes the case, often the warning signs are more subtle. While the following list is far from comprehensive, be aware if a friend, family member, or coworker:

  • Frequently changes plans or cancels/misses appointments and social engagements
  • Wears seasonally inappropriate clothing, particularly turtlenecks and long sleeves in warm weather or sunglasses inside
  • Rarely has spending money and/or is hyper-attentive to getting and keeping receipts
  • Receives repeated, persistent calls or text messages from his or her partner in short periods of time
  • Is hyper-attentive to answering persistent calls and/or texts
  • Makes excuses for partner’s comments or behavior
  • Has bruises or injuries in different stages of healing, often with explanations that don’t make sense or sound plausible
  • Stops attending worship services, social gatherings, or other functions (may be a sudden or more gradual disappearance)
  • Has trouble maintaining a conversation or social interaction (may appear distracted or uninterested)
  • Gradually or suddenly makes an uncharacteristic change in dress (could be a shift to more revealing clothes or to a more modest look)
  • Engages in self-harming behaviors (such as cutting or abusing alcohol and other drugs) or shows signs of an eating disorder
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts; shows signs of depression

If you are concerned that someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, please consider reaching out for support and consultation.

This program is supported by MOVA through a 1984 VOCA grant from the OVC, OJP, US Department of Justice.

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.

Supported by CJP This program is funded in part by CJP.

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