Believing someone you know and love is experiencing domestic violence is difficult. First instincts typically are to convince them to leave the situation. However, there are many reasons that victims stay in the relationship, and leaving can be dangerous for them, their children, their pets, and the people that help them. So, how can you help?
- First and foremost, make sure you are safe. Do not cause additional stress or aggression with the expected abuser.
- Remember that you cannot RESCUE them. They need to make the decision to leave.
- Make Time for Them. They need to know that they are not alone, that you care, and that you are there when they
- Learn the Warning Signs. https://www.thehotline.org/identify-abuse/warning-signs-of-abuse/
- Let Them Know You are There – start the conversation, don’t push, keep confidences, be discreet. Don’t give up. https://www.thehotline.org/support-others/start-a-conversation/
- Do Not Judge Them – Victims need someone who Listens to Them, not questions why they have not left, why they let it happen, ... Just be the sounding board they need.
- Believe Them and Let Them Know You Believe Them
- Learn About Local Domestic Violence Agencies: what they offer, how to access. For MSCFV programs and services, visit: https:///mscfv.org/services
- Help Form a Safety Plan – http://mscfv.org/safety-planning
- Help Document the Abuse in a safe place where abusers can’t find it. For tips on documenting the abuse, visit: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/building-your-case-how-to-document-abuse/
- Call the Police if (1) there is imminent danger or (2) children are involved. If children are involved, contact Child Protective Services.
For more information on how to help people you suspect are experiencing abuse, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline.