Barriers to Leaving


Abusers are not always hurtful. Many abusers have a likable and loving side. Many victims think they can change the abuser’s behavior.


Many times abusers will threaten to hurt or kill themselves if their victim decides to leave. Abusers often threaten that the violence will get worse if the partner decides to leave as well.


It's not always easy to admit that the relationship you are in is abusive. If your date is popular at school (athletics, academics, etc.) you may be concerned about losing social status with your peers.


Victims can be afraid of an “I told you so” response by those who have tried to help in the past.

Hope for Change

Belief that the abuser will return to the person he was in the beginning of the relationship, the person she fell in love with.


As a tactic of the abuse the abuser has made it difficult to access resources or supportive people.

Societal Denial

Abusers often have a public face that is charming and charismatic; it is difficult for those who only know that side to believe the abuse is happening.

Societal Expectations

Ending a relationship is often seen as a failure. Also stereotypes of “who” and “where” domestic violence happens often do not represent their demographic.

Lack of Resources

It may be difficult or impossible to contact supportive people, have access to money or housing.

Economic Autonomy

The number one indicator that a victim will be able to leave is economic stability outside of the relationship.


The victim may believe that both parents together is better than a single parent or than parents living separately. The victim may not want to disrupt children’s childcare or schooling.