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fireinthepriory's avatar

What do you do when you hear a domestic dispute?

Asked by fireinthepriory (7435points) July 3rd, 2009

Last night at 4am I was awoken by some of my neighbors (sounded like a couple) really getting into it. I don’t know for certain if it got physical or not, but at one point I think that I may have heard the woman get slapped, and I definitely heard her sobbing “don’t hit me” near the end of the argument. Needless to say, this was really upsetting. What is the right course of action in these circumstances? I was really freaked out but didn’t call the police since I wasn’t sure if what I was hearing was violence or not, and I live in an area where the police are stretched pretty thin. Now I feel really guilty about not calling, and want to have a plan in case it happens again.

What would you do?

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14 Answers

lukiarobecheck's avatar

Call the cops. Let them take care of it. That way, you did all you could do.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yeah, I’d call the cops. Even if I didn’t think it was violent yet, I’d call if I thought it might get to that point. It’s just the best thing to do. Plus, if they’re being so loud that they’re keeping people awake, cops are more likely to go out and take a look for “noise pollution” reasons.

Facade's avatar

The only “domestic dispute” I’ve experienced happened when I was about 12. I was in cheerleading practice for my school. A teammate’s father burst through the doors of the cafeteria where we were practicing. He ran toward her and started punching her in the head. Our coach (who was a pretty small woman) pushed him out the doors and had one of us get the principle. The girl seems to be pretty happy now-a-days which is good. and to get back on track… If I witnessed one now, I’d just call the police.

whatthefluther's avatar

The safest thing, for you, would be to call the police. Getting involved in domestic disputes usually means trouble, but if you are on friendly terms with the woman, you might casually mention to her that they were pretty noisy last night and that you would like them to keep the noise level down. Don’t mention anything about calling the cops. She probably will not “open” up to you, but you have given notice of your complaint. The next time it happens, call the cops immediately. Generally, the police won’t screw around with domestic disputes…if there is any evidence of violence, or if she tells them he threatened her, he is going to be spending at least the rest of that evening in jail.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve interfered in disputes before where I stopped the man from hurting his girlfriend but I know that that’s where it stops for me

charliecompany34's avatar

when you are aware of a domestic situation, please call the cops. do not turn your head or a deaf ear to brewing domestic violence. if and when you do, the results can be fatal. you will be anonymous if you request so.

Likeradar's avatar

Slightly off topic here… what do you do when you don’t know where it’s coming from? I live in an apartment in a fairly heavily populated area and my building is surrounded closely by other buildings. There have been times I’ve thought I’ve heard violence, but can’t tell if it’s coming from the next building, or across the alley, etc, let alone which specific apartment. Do I still call the police and tell them I don’t know where it’s coming from?

FiRE_MaN's avatar

call the police or go over and see what they are doing.

EmpressPixie's avatar

It kind of depends on the situation. When I was in college, my (loudish anyway) hallmate started getting into it with her boyfriend (or vice versa, whatever, they were yelling). It was super loud and something she said really bothered me (I think it was “Don’t touch me!”, but I’m not sure), so I just went next door and popped my head in and asked if every thing was okay. They both assured me it was fine. Then an RA showed up and I bowed to greater authority and left.

But that was a situation where, however fleetingly, I actually knew the person involved. In your situation, I’d call the police. If it sounded really awful, I’d probably pop over and knock on the door, these days with my boyfriend in tow. They’d probably say they’re fine, but honestly is buys a bit of time for the police to arrive if you really think things were getting out of hand. If you’re scared of the dude though (and that is a totally legit reaction, I would be) I’d leave it up to the cops. Because if you knock to check on them then the cops show up, it’s probably obvious who called.

And every so often you find out that they just like playing giant jinga on the kitchen table and you aren’t hearing bookcases getting shoved around or someone being murdered or whatever else you could come up with to explain that horrible crashing noise every 20 minutes.

basp's avatar

I’m a mandated reporter and obligated to call authorities. But, even if I wasn’t, I would make the phone call. Even if you don’t know exactly where it is coming from, many times law enforcement can figure it out. Also, if it is a couple playing jinga on the kitchen table, the cops will sort all that out too.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it would depend on the situation. When I was a freshman in college, I was outside my dorm when I saw a couple going at it hammer and tongs. They were screaming at each other and she was crying. I was afraid that one of them would hit the other so I sat down on one of the benches and called my mom to have an excuse to keep an eye on them. Thankfully, it did not come to blows.

However, in the situation you described, I might go over and knock on the door. If they didn’t answer, I think I would call the police. If they answered and they seemed angry, upset, or one of them was hurt, I would definitely call the police.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@Likeradar Actually that was part of it – I had no idea what apartment or even building it was coming from. I live in a house made into apartments surrounded by houses made into apartments, it makes it really hard. And I don’t know these people at all, so I couldn’t have gone over myself… If it happens again I’ll just call and say I don’t know where it’s coming from but that if they come to my address they should be able to hear it and hopefully find where it’s coming from.

basp's avatar

If the violence between the couple has escalated to the point that you can hear it, chances are law enforcement has already met this couple and/or, they are involved with the system through social services and can be easily identified . Also, you might not be the only person to call and your piece of information might be more valuable than you think when coupled with the other information law enforcement has gathered.

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