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Responding to Victims of Abusive Dating Relationships

Abusive relationships often involve a repeating pattern of verbal, sexual, emotional and physical abuse that increases over time.

Indicators of abusive relationships include:

  • verbal abuse
  • isolation from friends and family
  • fear of abandonment
  • fear of partner’s temper
  • fear of intimidation
  • acceptance of highly controlling behavior
  • assuming responsibility for partner’s abusive behavior
  • feeling trapped
  • fear of leaving the relationship
  • See the student in private.
  • Recognize that the student may be fearful and vulnerable.
  • Remember that abusive relationships involve complex dynamics, including high levels of denial and, thus, are difficult to change.
  • Be aware that interventions from a variety of sources increase the chances for change.
  • Refer the student to the Counseling Center for confidential help: (301) 314-7651.
  • Encourage the student to connect with trusted family members and friends.
  • Advise the student that Campus Police should be called in cases of rape or violence: (301) 405-3333.
  • Consult the website of the University’s Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct for information regarding reporting policies and procedures.
  • Downplaying the situation.
  • Lecturing the student about poor judgment.
  • Expecting the student to make quick changes.
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