Domestic Violence: Signs & Solutions Resource Guide

Written By: Woodside Content Team


October 3, 2022

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800–799–7233.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Pastor Chris sat down with author and advocate Tiffany Mensah to talk about this topic and how the church can be a safe space for those experiencing domestic violence. You can view the episode this Tuesday, October 4th at 6pm across all our social media platforms.

We asked Tiffany to put together an in-depth resource that lays out the potential warning signs, common characteristics of an abuser, and how to get help.

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, emotional abuse, and spiritual and digital abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

Potential Warning Signs or Common Characteristics of an Abuser:

Abuse is rooted in power and control. It’s the belief and practice that one person is superior to the other. Objectification is where they viewing victims as possession existing for the pleasure of the abuser/objectifying people.

Profile of an Abuser

Here is a list of common, but not all, characteristics of an abuser:

Narcissistic — self-centered and superior
Poor/low self-esteem
Emotional dependency
Dual personality
History of abuse
Social isolation
Inappropriate use or displays of anger
Sense of entitlement
Frequently charming
High power and control needs
Fear of intimacy

Perpetrators are masters of manipulation and perception by saying their violence is reasonable, justified, and rational.

Types of abuse


▶️ Does or says hurtful things that impact your feelings You can’t leave your home/lying to you get their way / threatening you (kick out, expose you)
▶️ They want their voice to be the only voice
▶️ Isolation from family and friends
▶️ Increased monitoring


▶️ Unwanted sex / not respectful of boundaries
▶️ Forcing to send photos of you to others to get you to


▶️ Withholding supplies and needs
▶️ Not giving stimulus money
▶️ Refusing to provide money for groceries etc.

You can identify the signs of an individual being abused and/or a child living in a home with abuse in one of the following ways:

▶️ Isolation from family and friends
▶️ Spiritual — using the Bible to weaponize and force submission
▶️ Digital — stalking on social media/tracking location unknown to the victim, logging into social media and digital accounts without permission, forcing shared passwords, constantly calling/texting partner to check-in
▶️ Physical — bruises, punches, holes in walls, destruction
▶️ Financial — withholding supplies and needs, controlling the finances, refusing to give money for groceries and other needs.
▶️ Child/Children — Withdrawn

Resources Available

▶️ DOVES Network
▶️ | individuals available 24/7, 365.

In Michigan

▶️ Wayne County First Step / Washtenaw County Safehouse Macomb County Turning Point
▶️ Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

What are some of the ways we as individuals and the church can help identify and care for victims?

Please prioritize safety and aftercare so they can receive God’s love and care through you. They will know us by our love sticks out before we minister a word. Alongside being family and friends, we serve as the agents of God’s agents of protection for those being harmed and oppressed by various forms of abuse.

  • Get educated
  • Understand the dynamics of Domestic Violence — you don’t know how to see the signs if you don’t know what the signs are. 2 Corinthians 1:3–5 — If we are to comfort and encourage like Holy Spirit, we first do that by being educated about what it looks like, its impact and ensuring we are educated on the resources to offer help and assistance to get them to safety.
  • Understand that domestic violence is everyone’s business — this isn’t what happens here stays here. You’ve taken the best first step by increasing the churches’ understanding of domestic violence because this is the most crucial step to inspire much-needed change. Normalizing awareness and prevention in your sphere are essential.
  • Listen compassionately
  • Avoid quick fixes
  • Ask how you can help support them. Don’t suggest letting them guide you and the conversations.

How can I help? Is there anything I can do?

  • Respond safely- “I believe you” is a powerful first response.
  • Stay in touch — keep it generic / don’t stop calling, and don’t judge their decisions if they choose to stay. The most dangerous time is to leave without a plan, so it is not uncommon if this route is taken.
  • Your role and goal are to be a trusted contact and resource. Keep your eyes open.
  • Listen and look for what’s not being said and being said
  • Be a safe space
  • In addition,
  • Marriage counseling doesn’t work in domestic violence; you risk the abuser taking control because they’re good manipulators. The victim doesn’t feel safe disclosing in these settings due to consequences when not in your presence.
  • Accountability — Repentance is possible but through transformation — plugging them into a counter-abuse program, such as what DOVES Network offers to turn away from actions that cause you to abuse and having a trusted leader ensure follow-up.
  • Refer to domestic violence agencies — Without proper training and experience in this field, more harm than good could be done. Expertise in supporting domestic violence victims can be found in many domestic violence agencies such as DOVES Network or a local partner.
  • Encourage other churches in your network to support the work of these organizations.

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800–799–7233.