Whether you suspect that someone in your building is being abused, or you witnessed someone being abused, you can take steps to help. Individual actions against domestic violence are no less important than institutional ones.

  • If at any time you are concerned about someone’s life and health being in imminent danger, immediately call your national emergency serviceslist of phone numbers.
  • If you know or suspect that you have witnessed domestic violence but are not sure how to proceed, seek advice out from your country’s national domestic abuse hotlinelist of phone numbers for Europe, rest of the world.
  • Ring the bell. If you do not want to confront the abuser directly, use a fictional occasion – ask to borrow an item (a cup of sugar, an iron, whatever it is) or ask a trivial question (e.g. “Is your water running because ours isn’t?”). Practice shows that this leads to a reduction or halt of aggression at that particular moment.

The survivors of domestic violence, who took part in this project, are saying:

Sometimes the only thing you want to hear while he’s beating you is the doorbell.

My neighbours always called the police whenever I celebrated my birthday as a teenager. But they never responded when I was screaming in horror and pain for hours several years later.

Why do we make such a fuss about loud music or noisy home renovations but shrink in silence when we hear the sound of violence?

Neighbours in most cases are just observers – they watch, listen, discuss. But when they have to confirm what they have seen – they disappear, they do not want to get involved. I want to tell them that no one is safe! Tomorrow it may happen to them.

It is always better to help today than to regret that you haven’t, when it is too late.

Once a neighbour stopped me on the stairs and told me she wanted me to know that I could count on her for anything. Without a word more. That was all I needed at this point. That’s how I started unraveling the knot of violence.

You hear it. You hear the screams, the blows, the thuds. The falling to the ground, the crying, the calls for help. You hear it. Yes. Perhaps even often. This may be a close friend of yours. This is someone’s life. Do not stand on the sidelines!