How Domestic Violence Advocates Support the Health and Wellness of Victims

Here are some ways Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence Case Managers support the Health and Wellness of the victims they work with.

SAFE SPACE: Provide a safe and nurturing environment for the client to speak to you

CONFIDENTIALITY: Assure clients that everything they share is confidential unless you believe they are in danger of suicide or homicide or if a child is in danger of neglect and/or abuse

LISTEN: Listen to the client as they speak and maintain eye contact with them. Allow the client to cry if s/he wants to, reminding them that crying is cleansing for their soul

SAFETY PLANNING: Assist the client with developing a safety plan. For more information on creating a plan, visit https://mscfv.org/safety-planning.

BE HONEST: Let the client know that it’s okay to be afraid and not know what to do. Remind them that the abuse was not their fault and they can’t change their abuser or their behavior(s)

EMPATHY: Be empathetic towards the client and his/her situation. NEVER ask the client why they stayed for as long as they did or why they hadn’t left before

NON-JUDGEMENTAL: Be nonjudgmental in your responses to the client. Do not share your personal biases

JOURNALING: Encourage the client to journal their thoughts. Remind them to keep their journal in a safe place.

WRITE A LETTER: Encourage the client to write a letter to their abuser, telling them how the abuse has impacted their life. DO NOT SEND THE LETTER TO THE ABUSER. Have the client destroy it however they choose to, or if they are comfortable they can read it at a court hearing. 

BREATHING EXERCISES: Guide the client through stress-reducing, breathing activities. Visit this site for some breathing activities https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255.

MUSIC: Assist the client with developing a list of inspirational songs they can listen to when they are feeling stressed. For a starter list, visit https://mscfv.org/songs-of-empowerment.

PHYSICAL HEALTH: Encourage the client to take walks (during daylight hours), to eat a healthy diet, and to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night

ART THERAPY: Encourage client to engage in coloring, painting and other hobbies

NETWORK OF SUPPORT: Encourage the client to develop a social support system to include family, friends, coworkers, their pastor/clergy (if they have a church affiliation)

SEEK HELP: Encourage the client to seek mental health counseling and provide a list of resources

WELLNESS KIT: Create a kit of items that can support victims as they work on their wellness. For ideas of what to include in a kit, visit https://mscfv.org/wellness-kit.

KNOW THE NUMBERS: Give clients emergency numbers, including 911, MSCFV Hotline 1-800-927-4673 (or the number to the local domestic violence agency) and Mobile Crisis (find the list at http://www.mdcoalition.org/get-help-now/crisis-hotline.html

We are currently collecting items to help the children of the domestic abuse survivors we are working with have a strong start to this school year. To learn how you can help these children, click here.