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What Should You Say When You Think Someone Is Being Abused?

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Domestic violence affects more women than breast, lung, and ovarian cancer combined, but it's a topic that many people find difficult to discuss. Research from The Allstate Foundation found that more than 50 percent of Americans say they wouldn't know what do to help a victim of domestic violence. Additionally, it showed nearly 60 percent say domestic violence is a difficult topic to discuss with friends and family.

"If someone comes to you and tells you they're a victim of domestic violence, the most important thing you can do is offer your support without judgment," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of corporate responsibility at Allstate. "There are 1300 deaths and two million injuries related to domestic violence each year. Odds are we all know someone who's in an abusive relationship. Knowing how to help might just save a life."

Here are some easy ways to start a conversation:

Offer support without judgment or criticism.There are a lot of reasons why a victim may stay in an abusive relationship, and many reasons why she may also leave and return to the relationship multiple times. Let her know it's not her fault and that she's not alone.

Don't be afraid to tell her that you're concerned for her safety.Help your friend or family member recognize the abuse while acknowledging that she is in a very difficult and dangerous situation.

Avoid confrontations.There are many reasons why individuals experiencing abuse don't reach out to family and friends. It's important to recognize when she is ready to talk about her experiences while still offering support.

Encourage her to get help.Suggest ways she can get additional support. Help her look into available resources, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline number (800-799-SAFE) or a local domestic violence agency with specially trained advocates to help her out of the situation.

The Allstate Foundation has a campaign completely dedicated to encouraging more people to speak up and discuss this topic openly, called the Purple Purse. The purple purse is a symbol for the financial empowerment of domestic violence survivors. The campaign website, PurplePurse.com, helps provide a safe place to learn about domestic violence. It appears to be an online fashion magazine but as visitors explore the site further, they find facts, resources and conversation starters about domestic violence.

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