Know a Victim of Domestic Abuse? Here’s How to Help Them

Domestic abuse is a terrible cycle. Victim advocates say it takes an average 7 events before the injured person tries to leave an abusive situation for good.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. every minute. Over the course of one year that would amount to 10 million women – and, yes, men too.

So, it’s important to tell you about an invaluable free service for victims that helps ensure abusers are more likely to be punished. Its especially necessary now because of the steep rise in these crimes during the pandemic’s forced isolation. The idea is to give victims a way to secretly document abuse so offenders can be more easily prosecuted.

A Place to CONFIDENTIALLY Record Details of Abuse

The idea was the brainchild of the late Susan Murphy Milano who endured years of violence by her father. He was a decorated detective with the Chicago PD who repeatedly threatened the family, violently attacked his wife, Roberta, and vowed to kill her if she tried to leave. In 1989, Susan discovered her murdered mother’s body and her father dead by suicide. Susan set out to change the way society looked at domestic violence and, among other accomplishments, established the online reporting space called Susan died of cancer in 2012.

Her reporting site for victims lives on today with Norma Peterson at the helm. She and Susan bonded during the murder trial of former Illinois cop Drew Peterson, Norma’s brother-in-law, who was found guilty of the 2003 murder of his third wife, Kathleen. That crime wasn’t prosecuted until after Peterson was implicated in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, in 2007. Her body has never been found.

Photo courtesy of Imagine Publicity
The Late Susan Murphy Milano – Victim’s Advocate/Author

But back to the service provided by Since cell phone activity can easily be traced by a controlling abuser victims are instructed to carefully seek out a safe computer – at a library, church, café or trusted friend’s home – and register on the site with a username and password.

On the site the victim is walked through filling out what’s called an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA) to confidentially document the date and time of every abusive act.

“This is a log that cannot be disputed,” Norma explained to me, and it lives on in the awful event that the victim does not. Simply telling a friend or leaving a note saying, “If something happens to me its because of my ex” is valuable, but it could be considered hearsay and may not stand up in court.

The EAA asks for the abuser’s photo, date of birth, social security number, where they work and whether there are guns in the house. If there are police or hospital reports (including photos of injuries) the victim is asked to upload them or provide file numbers which can be easily retrieved later. The most important last step is to click a link and record a short video recounting the EAA information and other pertinent details.’s Exec. Director, Norma Peterson

I set up a mock page and found the site simple to navigate and the step-by-step system is completely free and confidential. It’s also designed to be updated which, Norma says, not only creates a legal document (once notarized) it also serves to highlight for the victim how abuse escalates. A push is followed by a slap, is followed by a punch in the face or attempted strangulation.

“We have seen easily a 200% increase in the last year of people going to fill this out,” Norma said when asked about the rise of domestic abuse during the pandemic. “And thousands and thousands are looking at the site on a weekly basis.” She says has attracted interest from “around the country” and at least two foreign countries.

Convicted Killer Peterson With His Two Dead or Missing Wives

Just think if the still missing Stacy Peterson had had this resource. Perhaps she could have found the courage to escape her abusive relationship and level charges against Drew Peterson.

Countless domestic abuse victims are too embarrassed and ashamed to share their secret with others. But makes it an easy, private exercise. Please pass on this information.

Now, Norma hopes to get the word out nationwide. Who knows, it might even be adopted worldwide. Wouldn’t that cement Susan Murphy Milano’s place in the history books of victim’s advocacy?

Susan’s Parents


  1. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Dwayne Gaskin writes:

    This mentions the embarrassment and shame that women won’t say anything, but leaves out the past that they also believe they can change the abuser, making him a better man. And feel like they are lucky, because when he doesn’t beat on her, he is such a great guy. This is what some men do. Punishment/reward cycles, that makes the woman have conflicting emotions.

    For the men, who are abused, it’s emotional mostly. Controlling everything from what he spends money on with only her approval, to only having friends that she has, and making disparaging jokes and comments when her friends are around, attacking his family with how terrible they are. Even guys will put up with this and more, especially if they have children.

    It’s the children who really suffer growing up in homes like this. I hope every woman in a abusive relationship leaves the pos, but I know how hard it is for them to do so.

  2. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 10:58 am

    David Imm writes:

    We have a friend that escaped Panama from an abusive husband and the judge in Colorado is ordering her back because of the children. The judge said he couldn’t believe her because she was scatter brained. News flash she lived with a sociopath that made her think she was crazy and she is just now getting her bearings back and he is trying to force her back into the abuse. Judges that deal with domestic issues should be required to take psychology and interact with abusers so they know how manipulative they are.

  3. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Ruben Volosen writes:

    100%. One thing to note: the perpetrators cited in this article are all (ALLEGEDLY) male. I have several friends that have been physically(stabbed unprovoked), mentally, and emotionally abused by FEMALE perpetrators. It happens to both genders. Please tell the whole truth

    • Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 11:01 am

      Diane replies to Ruben:

      Whole truth was told in the second paragraph….

      “The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States every minute. Over the course of one year, that would amount to 10 million women—and, yes, men too.”

  4. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Amysharonarnold26 writes:

    Thank you

  5. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Julie Burnett writes:

    I was married to a former NYPD officer. I left after 3 months via a protective order. I could have used this.

    Instead I used a city council meeting I knew was a live meeting and video and spoke on suicide. The wife before me died by suicide……

  6. Diane Dimond on May 10, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Norma Peterson writes:

    Thank you ♦ Diane Dimond ♦ for bringing awareness to this amazing resource that Susan Murphy-Milano created! I am so grateful for the opportunity to take her work forward in a way that serves not only victims of Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence but anyone who has contact with them. This includes loved ones, friends, shelters, advocates, law enforcement, the judicial system and so on. Please read and share this. With statistics being what they are, you either know someone, are someone or can help someone dealing with abuse. I may only be one match but I can make an explosion….

  7. Delilah Jones on May 11, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    I am always grateful that over the years you have answered the call to bring attention to the work of Susan Murphy Milano. I’m also proud that Norma Peterson has taken on the challenge of intimate partner violence and carries the legacy forward to help all victims of abuse. Thanks a million for all you do, Diane!

  8. Diane Dimond on May 17, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Anonymous writes:

    Men don’t Tell their stories enough.
    I lived with an abusive alcoholic.
    She was only 145 lbs and I am 25. I was embarrased to say anything..
    She was a hardcore alcoholic, she threw glasses plates & even knives at me. She pulled my neck brace a week after I had spinal surgery.

    I finally left for good. She got diagnosed as alcoholic, but you never believed she was even after she got three DWIs.
    The police completely biased. She blew five times over the legal limit when she was in care of my son they never arrested her.

    To this day I’m still fighting for full custody. Her last DWI was before the 3 and out rule went into effect she got grandfathered in and she just got her license back
    My fear is that she gets in a crash with my son in the car.

    Everyone assumes it’s always a man who abuses.

  9. Diane Dimond on May 17, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Ira W. writes:

    Important post. Too few likes and comments. Too many women suffer in silence. In TN a friend of mine just got a bill passed to expand the definition of domestic violence. More states should too.

  10. Mary on May 19, 2021 at 10:45 am

    I came across this resource from a friend and after looking into it, I decided it was time I started to write what was happening to me. I have not used it for anything other than to have it if I need the details of what I went through should I need to. I feel safer knowing that my story is told and there if I need it. I hope to someday leave this situation I am in but until then I have somewhere to “share” the things I am going through without putting anyone at risk. Thank you for having this tool available.

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