Speak out against unacceptable situations.

Reporting domestic violence is an act of bravery for a victim. There are so many things stopping her that she often finds herself feeling paralyzed and trapped in a vicious circle. Generally, her concerns are based on a fear of future threats, physical violence, and other forms of cruelty. The fear of poverty or not finding a shelter, and concerns over her children’s well-being can also represent major obstacles. In addition, irreconcilable feelings, like her sense of powerlessness, feelings of guilt over the situation’s deterioration and over problems in the relationship, combined with feelings of hope that her partner might change, and the love that she still feels for him, all contribute to her concerns.

If you are a family member or close friend of either partner in a couple experiencing domestic violence, your duty is to report the situation. Whatever the form of violence, you need to speak out against it. Fear, shame or a feeling of powerlessness can drive women victims of domestic violence into isolation.

It is important to speak out, confide in someone, and find help. This is true for victims, partners who display violent behaviours, witnesses, as well as the family members or close friends of victims.

Do something.

Break the silence.
Don’t let someone suffer alone. To learn more about police intervention and legal proceedings in a domestic violence context, go to the Éducaloi website.

What happens when you call the police to report domestic violence?

The victim’s safety is at risk, so you can be sure that police will take what you say seriously, and respond quickly, especially if the domestic violence is occurring when you call. Police officers might ask you to give an oral and written account of what you heard or saw.

The perpetrator might be arrested, and then charged with the criminal acts committed. Sometimes, the witness who notified the police might be asked to come to court during the proceedings to testify about the events in front of the judge. If this is the case, the witness will be served with an official document, called a subpoena, which requests his or her presence at the court house at a specific date and time.

However, notifying the police about domestic violence does not necessarily mean that you will need to testify in court. It is a possibility, but quite often, due to other evidence or the perpetrator’s confession, the witness does not have to appear in court.

Whatever the case may be, the simple act of notifying the police about domestic violence will clearly help to protect the victim, which is the most important thing. As a witness, you generally do not have to fear any retaliation against you or the victim. Social and legal assistance services are in place to protect you both.