How You Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

YOUR HELP AS A FRIEND OR RELATIVE

People often feel awkward about ‘taking sides’ and try to keep out of it, saying ‘it’s not really any of my business’. Friends and family may think that they are being ‘neutral’ but ignoring it

1. If you think a friend or loved one is being abused, try telling them that you’re concerned, say why you’re worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it. Let them know you want to help. You don’t have to know all the answers. The important thing is to break the isolation.

2. Always prioritise safety – yours and theirs. The abuser won’t appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it.

3. Support your friend in whatever decision they’re currently making about their relationship, whilst being clear that the abuse is wrong. Remember, what you are trying to do is be supportive, not to make them feel judged. It’s not always easy for people to just leave.

4. Maintain contact with them overtime and help them to explore their options. Let them guide you in how best to support them.

5. Help them to build their self-esteem; remind them of their good points, challenge them if they put down or blame themselves, praise them for every step they take and let them know they have your support.

Practical tips

1. Agree a code word or action that if they say to you or you see, you know they’re in danger and cannot access help themselves.

2. Offer to keep copies of important documents and other items  so that if they have to leave in a hurry, they don’t have to waste time collecting important belongings.

3. Find out information  for them so they can make informed choices.

4. Get some support yourself. You have to be strong if you’re going to be able to help them. Most domestic violence services are happy to help with any worries you may have or provide suggestions as to other actions you might take.

Most importantly, don’t give up on them. You might be their only lifeline.

YOUR HELP AS A NEIGHBOUR OR SOMEONE WHO CARES

If you suspect a neighbour is being abused, there are some steps you could take

1. In an emergency dial 999

2. Talk to your neighbour and explain that you’re concerned and ask them if there is any way that you can help. For example, you could agree a code word or signal they could make when they are in need of help.

3. Let your neighbour and the children know they can run to you if they need to leave the house immediately. However, these situations can be highly dangerous so remember to keep yourself safe. Confronting the abuser is not a good idea.

4. Offer to keep copies of important documents and other items  so that if they have to leave in a hurry, they don’t have to waste time collecting important belongings.

5. Find out information  for them so they can make informed choices.


YOUR HELP AS A SERVICE PROVIDER

If you’re a health professional or work in counselling you may come into contact with people who’ve experienced domestic violence. So how can you help?

Exactly what you can do will depend on your organisation but below are some basic good practice points for all agencies when dealing with domestic violence.

1. If you think a friend or loved one is being abused, try telling them that you’re concerned, say why you’re worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it. Let them know you want to help. You don’t have to know all the answers. The important thing is to break the isolation.

2. Recognise that domestic violence is a serious problem.

3. Whatever your job, try to see the person separately from their partner.

About admin

Felicity Okolo like each of us has been on her own journey of discovery, which she shares through her work. She is one of the UK’s leading Life Coach & Transformational Speaker especially on Women Empowerment. Felicity is the author of "Who Stole My Power? And The Easy Way To Reclaim It!" and the author of the forthcoming book "It Is My Life And I'm In Charge" Her purpose in life is to “Empower and lead people in a dynamic and passionate manner to live to their true potential all happy, healthy, prosperous, expressing love and peace for the highest good of all concerned.”
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