Helping someone experiencing Family Violence

Family Violence is never OK. Even though the Jewish community values harmonious relationships, we are still touched by abuse.

By responding together, we can work to cease patterns of behaviour that diminish the quality of family life. The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence hosts school education programs, special events and Rabbinic seminars to help build awareness and understanding of family violence.

Individual community members also have a key role to play. Friends or family living in troubled relationships need support, even if they don’t feel able to speak out.

“Do not stand idly by and see your neighbour’s blood spilled.” – Leviticus 9:16

Signs of Family Violence

Domestic abuse takes many forms, but you may notice when a woman:

  • Seems intimidated by, fearful of or over-anxious to please a partner;
  • Is constantly monitored as to whereabouts and the company they keep;
  • Frequently receives unfair verbal criticism or is belittled in public;
  • Claims clumsiness as the cause of regular bruises and other injuries;
  • Starts cancelling at the last minute or stops seeing friends and family altogether;
  • Has little or no independent access to money.

Reaching out to others

People living with family violence are often conflicted. They may feel responsible for the abuse, worried about children and fearful of an uncertain future. For these and other reasons, the steps toward action and change can be gradual.

Support is critical for safety and the protection of children. Apply this simple A, B, C to reach out:

  • A = Alone
    Wait for a private moment alone with the person to raise your concern. Do not approach the abusive partner.
  • B = Believe
    Accept what they tell you as truth. They are more likely to understate the abuse than exaggerate.
  • C = Care
    Tell her you care and that faith and trust can be placed in you to offer whatever support is needed.

Express your concern, even if the person in difficulty makes no disclosure, and remind them everyone has the right to a life free of violence. Maintain your friendship, especially if the woman chooses to stay with an abusive partner. Don’t get frustrated if she leaves and returns. It’s not uncommon for this to happen a number of times. In fact, statistics show someone leaving a violent relationship can make as many as seven different attempts.

How you can help

Even though all situations are unique, one thing everyone experiencing abuse needs is support. Help them recognise the violence is not their fault and be alert to inaccurate or deliberate misreading of Jewish teachings. And follow this L O U D principle:

L is for Listen
One of the most important things every family violence victim needs is a safe place and trusted ear to tell their story. Listening is vital, but don’t make judgements.

O is for Open
Open up the possibilities. Offer to explore options available to the person together. JTAFV is a good place to start. Phone the Jewish Taskforce Support Line or browse links to a wide range of support services.

U is for Understand
Not everyone living with family violence is able to make real and immediate change. Keep this in mind as you continue to encourage and support them towards a safe and violence-free family life.

D is for Depend
Be the person they can trust and talk to. Women are often isolated by their abuser. So providing a safe place to turn is an essential form of support.

JTAFV can provide a range of helpful publications to support people facing complex relationship issues. To discuss your concern confidentially or for more information on how to help, contact the Jewish Taskforce Support Line.


To find out more about how to support someone being abused in a relationship, download the guide from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria

Other pages in this section

What's your role in family violence? Did you know the person sitting next to you could be a victim?
Intervention Orders