A Few Things You Could Do To Support Someone Experiencing Domestic Or Emotional Abuse
The way you respond to someone experiencing domestic or emotional abuse is very important and it can make a real difference.
There are a few practical things that you can do to support the person physically and emotionally.
Please Note: You may not be able to help immediately because they need to spend time thinking about the whole situation but it’s important you are readily available to provide some form of support when it’s required.
The suggestions below may likely help you in supporting people you know currently experiencing domestic or emotional abuse
- Please do not judge them at all
- Show some concern about the situation and encourage them to open up with time.
- Always talk to them in private
- Ensure your response supports and encourages them to talk about the situation. It could create an opportunity for them to explore their options and in time make their decisions.
- Always be there for them even if they give excuses, reject your support, become defensive and deny there is a problem.
- It’s extremely important you listen to and believe what you are told because it helps to build an ongoing relationship based on trust. You could also find further help and support from specialist support organisations
- Reassure them that the abuse isn’t their fault. Violence is a choice the abuser makes and they(the abusers) are solely responsible for their abusive behaviour.
- Please do not assume the abuse experienced isn’t that serious
- Always have it at the back of your mind that the safety of them/their children is extremely important.
- Do not tell anyone to leave or criticise them for staying in the relationship. Allow them make the decision of leaving in their own time because it involves both emotional and practical considerations
- Endeavour to be clear that abuse is wrong BUT support them regardless of the decisions they make.
- Offer to go with them to the hospital or GP if they’ve received any injuries or require medical attention.
- As much as possible do not panic but be very sensitive, caring, cautious and respectful.
- Focus on helping them rebuild their self confidence
- You must be equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to support them through the whole situation
- Acknowledge their strengths and constantly remind them of the fact that they are coping well with a challenging and stressful situation.
- Do not mediate or be the contact person between them and the perpetrator
- Volunteer to keep copies of their important documents or items
- Remember to take things easy and look after yourself while supporting victims of emotional and domestic abuse.
- Assure them of the fact that they are not alone and there is help available to them.
- Encourage them to speak to a specialist support organisation if they haven’t spoken to one already for further support
- Reassure them of the many agencies that can help and support them.
- Cautiously remind them of the importance of calling 999 if they are in immediate danger and offer the necessary helplines eg.The National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247, The Men’s Advice Helpline on 0808 801 0327 or The National LGBT Helpline on 0300 999 5428.
- If you witness an assault, PLEASE CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY ON 999.
**Most of all be very patient and do not give up on them because your help and support can make a difference**