Info for Family and Friends

Share this page:
Family and Friends Can Play a Key Role in Stopping Teen Dating ViolenceHaving a friend or a child in an abusive relationship can be scary and frustrating. If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don't judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.

What to look for:

  • Bruises, scratches or other injuries
  • Failing grades
  • Dropping out of school activities
  • Avoiding friends and social events
  • Indecision
  • Changes in clothes or make-up
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Secrecy
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Crying spells or hysteria fits
  • Constant thoughts about the dating partner
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sudden changes in mood or personality
  • Fearfulness around the dating partner when his or her name is mentioned

 Why Do People Stay?

  • Fear
  • Believing abuse is normal
  • Fear of being outed
  • Embarrassment
  • Low self-esteem
  • Love
  • Social/peer pressure
  • Cultural/religious reasons
  • Pregnancy/parenting
  • Puppy-love phenomena
  • Distrust of police/authority
  • Language barriers/immigration status
  • Reliance on the abusive partner (financial, nowhere to go, disability)

Adapted from

If you are a parent and you think your child may be in an abusive relationship or you would like tips about talking to your child about dating violence, find more information here. Find more information about helping a friend here.


You can help stop domestic violence and child abuse.

DVCAC reaches over 37,000 men, women and children each year in the Cleveland area

We could not do it without support from the community. Help us help others.