Bridges to Safety

escape button

ABUSE can be: sexual, physical, verbal, emotional or financial

An ABUSER can be: a date, partner, family member, caregiver, friend, or stranger

Warning Signs of Abuse
These are possible identifiers, not an all-inclusive list
• Sudden or significant change in behavior
• Becoming more withdrawn
• Loss of previous skills or abilities
• Unusual expression of affection
• Difficulty sleeping
• Bruises or scratches
• Fear of being touched

Handling Disclosure
• Remain calm and be open
• Validate feelings
• Use the person's vocabulary
• Use caution and be aware of own personal beliefs
• Phrases to remember...
   "I believe you"
   "I'm sorry this happened to you"
   "It's not your fault"
• Report if required by law, keeping victim involved in process

Adapted from SafePlace fact sheets

Disability Etiquette
• Talk directly to the survivor
• Respect personal space, which can include assistive devices
  (ie: wheelchair, cane, communication device)
• Ask if help is wanted rather than making assumptions
• Remember to use the person's own language
• Avoid asking leading questions and rephrase if there is confusion

People First Language
When we refer to an individual, we refer to the person first and then the situation or disability if it is relevant.

Don't Say: Do Say:
special needs,
or handicapped
Person with a disability
Brain Damaged Person with a brain injury
Retarded Person with a
developmental disability
Wheelchair bound or
confined to a wheelchair
Person using a wheelchair