How can I help someone going through domestic violence?
You know someone going through domestic violence or abuse?
Don’t know what to do?
It can be hard to know what is the right thing to do.
Your gut instinct is to protect your friend or loved one. BUT, intervening can be dangerous for your friend or loved one and even dangerous for you.
But, sitting on the sidelines is so hard.
You need to take on the rule of supporter, not fixer.
However, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it. If you witness a physical assault, call 999 and report it.
Domestic violence and abuse often occurs when no one else is there to witness it.
What can you do to support?
- LISTEN – offer a safe haven for your friend or loved one, where they can talk openly and without judgment
- REASSURE – help them to understand that it is not their fault and they are not the one that needs to change
- ACKNOWLEDGE – their strengths and remind them of the person they are, that they are not defined by the situation they are in – build their self esteem
What NOT to do when supporting a friend or loved one going through domestic violence and abuse:
- Do not tell them to leave or criticise their decision to stay. This will only make them less likely to talk openly to you. A person has to accept what is happening and be ready to leave. They can only do this themselves.
- Don’t intervene and make decisions on their behalf. A domestic violence and abuse victim already feels out of control, or is being controlled, so do not add to this.
- Please do not tell others. By confiding in you, you need to remain confidential to build and maintain their trust.
Remember, there is help out there.
Encourage and talk openly about support and advice.
You could suggest talking to their GP, contacting domestic violence and abuse charities, or speaking to other friends and family members to build a support network.
The fear the victim has is real and complicated. They fear more abuse and violence, fear for where they will go, how to keep children safe. And so much more. Do not underestimate this fear or try to make less of it.
Domestic violence and abuse is a crime.
It is important not to forget that.
Suggest that your friend or loved one seeks legal help to be aware of their options. Swain & Co Solicitors offer confidential and free initial advice – enabling people to make informed decisions.
There is no pressure or commitment to take any action. If and when they are ready to, we can support them every step of the way.
Initial Free advice
Fixed Fee Options
Purely for Individuals