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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Focus on Safety – Ending the cycle of abuse


Many people think that abuse will never happen to them or someone they care about. But the truth is that domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, economic status or location.

Domestic violence is most often thought of as just being physical, but it also can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or other types of abusive behavior. Additionally, when people think of domestic violence they often think of an abusive spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. Yet parents of adolescent and adult children, roommates, and caretakers are often victimized, too.

Because of all these nuances to this important topic, domestic violence and supporting victims of violent crime is our focus for this month’s A Safer Naper campaign.

Abuse can take many forms. Abusers often use fear and intimidation, making the victim feel afraid for themselves, their children or pets. They might use emotional abuse such as humiliation, name calling or trying to control and isolate the person from friends or family.

Abusers might minimize, deny or blame the victim for abuse that has happened, making them feel that it is their fault the abuse is taking place. Another sign of abuse is using economic control over the victim; making sure they don’t hold a job or making them ask for money.

These are just some examples of how an abuser uses different tactics to gain power and control over the person they abuse. Unfortunately, abuse is rarely present in the initial stages of a relationship. Rather, it develops over time.

Every case of abuse and violence is different. There is no right or wrong way to respond to the trauma of being victimized. Moving forward is never easy. In fact, it can be downright terrifying.

Whether you are a victim of an act of violence or someone you know is being abused, please know that help and resources are available.

The Naperville Police Department has a social service team comprised of social workers and clinicians who can provide guidance and support with local, national and protective resource options. There is also a robust amount of information on the police department’s website about domestic violence, safety planning, orders of protection and how to help a friend or family member who is being abused.

For more information, visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper.

Until next month… Stay Aware & Stay Safe.

Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.