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How experts often ask questions about domestic violence

Domestic violence can often be a sensitive subject, as even those who are being abused may not want to speak up, or they may feel uncomfortable talking about it. As such, experts in Florida and across the United States have different tactics for asking questions about it.

One tactic involves framing the question so that it does not sound like an accusation. For instance, the expert may mention the work he or she has done with other people and say that, based on those experiences, he or she is interested to know if there are any troubles at home. This can open the door for a dialogue without sounding like such an accusation.

Another tactic is to write the questions out and to allow people to respond in writing. It's been found that people sometimes feel more comfortable to answer honestly, even if they're just saying yes or no, if they don't have to say it out loud.

Experts may also try working around the issue by asking related questions. For instance, the expert could ask about how work has been lately, how stressed the person has felt at work or at home, and how the person feels about his or her relationship. If the person answers that he or she is stressed out, but that work is going well, it could indicate that there are abuse issues or relationship issues—especially if the person then indicates anything other than happiness with that relationship.

For those who are suffering from domestic violence and abuse, it's very important to know what legal options exist, from divorce to protective orders.

Source: Stanford University, "How to Ask," accessed Feb. 09, 2016

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