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Domestic Abuse can take many different forms and so can the solutions. At the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence we have listened to survivors from all walks of life, from all over the state, and nearly 100% told us that community norms of shame, stigma and judgment made it very difficult for them to reach out for support.

Everyone has a part to play in ending the stigma around domestic abuse and domestic violence.

Survivors told us that they felt judged for the decisions that they made in all directions. Some were told that they were foolish for dealing with abuse for so long, while others were told that they should have stayed longer, and tried harder to make the relationship work. More broadly, survivors reported that they felt judged for being victims, for being poor, and for being perceived as a bad parent. Survivors told us that these experiences of judgment made them feel helpless, angry, isolated and even responsible for their own experiences of abuse.

Looking at solutions differently

The solutions prescribed for survivors often begin with ending the relationship, then relying on shelter programs and law enforcement for support and safety. For some survivors, these solutions may not be realistic or desirable.

Some survivors may choose to end the relationship, some may not;

Some survivors will seek interventions from law enforcement, but many will not;

Some survivors will seek support from domestic violence programs, but in the past many have not believed that the services offered were right for them.

Domestic violence agencies are working to recenter services and support in survivor-defined needs to ensure that our programs are accessible, relevant and helpful. Services are flexible to meet survivors where they are, and to support them over time, as they assess their relationship, make decisions about their safety, and heal from experiences of abuse.

I am experiencing Domestic Violence or Abuse

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or domestic violence, please go here:

What everyone should know
about domestic violence or abuse:

There isn’t a ‘right’ decision around an abusive relationship

Abuse takes many forms--physical, emotional, sexual, economic, and spiritual. Abuse doesn’t have to be physical to be serious

Understand that leaving isn’t the answer for every survivor, it’s often more complicated

Survivors tell us that to feel safe, they have to have lives free from abuse, and the ability to meet their basic needs - things like housing, food, transportation and childcare

Survivors make the decisions that they need to make in order to be safe

Change takes time


Be there for survivors, and understand that their needs may look different than your expectations

Be compassionate

Ask the survivor how you can be helpful, and follow their lead. Sometimes listening is all that a survivor wants; sometimes they need more help

Help them find resources

Validate survivors decisions regarding the relationship - there isn’t one ‘right’ answer

Keep offering support - change takes time, and healing takes time

Get support for yourself. Domestic violence programs located across Indiana can provide support, information and resources for survivors, and the people who care about them