Family violence is an umbrella term for child maltreatment and neglect, teen dating abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse. Unfortunately, it's more common than you might think. Here are some nationwide statistics:

  • A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
  • 1 in 3 girls is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • In nearly two-thirds of elder abuse and neglect cases, the abuser is a family member (adult children or spouses).

So what do these numbers tell us? We all likely know or will know someone who is directly impacted by abuse. To feel comfortable stepping up and responding appropriately, it is crucial to be able to recognize the signs.

Recognize the Signs and Behaviors

Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, digital or resource restrictive. All types of types of abuse have a commonality: power and control. LoveIsRespect created a Power and Control Wheel, which is a tool to explain different ways someone can use power and control to manipulate a relationship.

Respond Appropriately, Considering Your Safety and the Safety of Others

You can do your part as an active bystander by responding appropriately to abuse. It's important to consider your own safety first - as well as the safety of others - when you feel that a situation may escalate and become violent or dangerous. In an emergency, it is appropriate to call 911.

image of a woman looking into the camera

Refer to Resources

There are many resources available, both local and national, to help victims of abuse. For example, if you suspect child abuse and neglect, did you know that anyone can make a report anonymously to a child protective service agency by calling 1-800-422-4453.Or, if you know a teen or young adult who might be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, they can check out loveisrespect where advocates are available 24/7 via 1-866-331-9474, text "loveis" to 22522 or live chat at

Or maybe you know an adult in your life who is trying to leave an abusive relationship, but isn't sure where to start. You can refer them to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, where there are advocates available 27/4 to provide answers to questions, help with safety planning and more.

In other situations, you may have questions about the best way to respond. "Where's The Line?" is a central Ohio resource line that helps to empower bystanders by providing confidential answers and advice about abuse. Individuals can call 844-234-LINE (5463), text 87028 or chat at, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

No matter the situation or who is involved, there are many resources available to victims and bystanders. The Center for Family Safety and Healing houses local and national resources about family violence all in one place. View the full list here.

We all play a role in breaking the cycle of family violence and abuse. You can help raise awareness by sharing this article and our website, with friends and family, so that they too can become empowered, active bystanders.