Having a Crisis: Do You Know Someone In a Violent Relationship?
SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING SOMEONE IN A VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP
Do you know someone in a battering relationship? Do you suspect that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused? If so, don't be afraid to offer help - you just might save someone's life. Following are some basic steps you can take to assist someone who may be a target of domestic violence.
Approach the person in an understanding, non-blaming way. Tell them that they are not alone, that there are many people like them in the same kind of situation, and that it takes strength to survive and trust someone enough to talk about battering.
Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence. Tell them they do not deserve to be threatened, hit, or beaten. Nothing they can do or say makes the abuser's violence okay.
Share information. Discuss the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power and control.
Support them as a friend. Be a good listener. Encourage them to express their hurt and anger. Allow them to make their own decisions, even if it means they are not ready to leave the abusive relationship.
Ask if they have suffered physical harm. Go with them to the hospital to check for injuries. Help them report the assault to the police, if they choose to do so.
Provide information on services available to battered people and their children, including social service, emergency shelter, counseling services and legal advice.
Inform them about legal protection that is available under abuse prevention laws. Go with them to municipal, criminal, or civil court to get a protective order to prevent further harassment by the abuser. If you can't go, find someone who can.
It is important to plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship. These are often called "safety plans." Never encourage someone to follow a safety plan that they believe will put them at further risk. Remember that they may not feel comfortable taking these materials with them.