It can often be confusing and hard for people to support those they know that are living in a domestic violent relationship. It can often make us feel angry, hurt and sad that our loved one is in this position. Below are a few quick tips on how to support someone you know that is living with domestic violence.
- Be there- sometimes it can be as simple as that. Your loved one may need someone to listen to them non-judgementally. There may be times where you do not agree with their decisions but do remember that your actions may have consequences for the victim. It can be important to take a step back and take into consideration the victim’s wishes before taking action.
- Encourage them to reach out to their local Women’s Refuge, police or other relevant social services. There are many different ways that social services can help support women and their children. Know that there are professionals out there to provide advice, guidance and support.
- Offer practical support. It may be in the form of a home cooked meal, support at appointments, looking after the children or providing transport. If you see that there may be a barrier to them seeking support then try to help eliminate these. It could be helpful to ask questions such as: How can I help you to feel more supported? What can I do to help you get to these appointments?
- Validate their strengths. There can be subtle ways that a woman resists violence and acknowledging these can help break the mental control that their partner may have. These strengths could be talking to Women’s refuge, getting the children to school every day, maintaining a normal routine, sending the children to stay with relatives, reading to her children each night, getting legal orders place, holding down a job etc. Saying statements such as: I see how hard you have been working to ensure that the children still get to school and their after school activities. It must be hard to do this when your partner’s behaviour is abusive and controlling.
- Reinforce to your loved one that the person responsible for the violence is the one that is choosing to use violence. The person that uses violence is also responsible for the consequences that may arise.
Finally, please remember to always keep yourself safe and thank you for wanting to support your loved one.