Recognize The Signs

A victim may exhibit the following signs:

  • Obvious injuries such as bruises, black eyes, broken bones and hearing loss, often attributed to “falls,” “being clumsy,” or “accidents.”
  • Clothing that is inappropriate for the season, such as long sleeves and turtlenecks, as well as wearing sunglasses and heavy makeup.
  • Uncharacteristic absenteeism or lateness for work.
  • Change in job performance, including poor concentration, errors, slowness, and inconsistent work quality.
  • Uncharacteristic signs of anxiety and fear.
  • Requests for special accommodations, such as leaving early.
  • Isolation, unusual quietness, or keeping away from others.
  • Emotional distress, tearfulness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Minimization and denial of harassment or injuries.
  • An unusual number of phone calls, faxes or emails from a current or former partner, strong reactions to those calls, and reluctance to converse or respond to phone messages.
  • Insensitive or insulting messages taken by others.
  • Sensitivity about home life or hints of trouble at home. Comments may include references to bad moods, anger, tempers, and alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Disruptive personal visits to the workplace by present or former partner.
  • Irrational or unfounded fear about losing his/her job.
  • The appearance of gifts and flowers after what appears to be an argument between the couple, which may include physical violence.

An abuser may exhibit the following behavior:

  • Be abusive or bully others at work.
  • Blame others for problems, especially the victim.
  • Deny problems.
  • Show “defensive injuries” such as scratch marks.
  • May or may not demonstrate violence at work.
  • Is knowledgeable about the legal and social service systems and uses it to his/her advantage so it appears that he/she is the victim.
  • Is absent or late related to his/her actions toward the victim or for court or jail time.
  • Call victim repeatedly during work.

An abuser may be “invisible” due to exemplary job performance.


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