If you personally know or presume that someone close to you is a victim of domestic abuse and violence, you might be confused and even feel ignorant about the most suitable way to show them support and help. But let being scared of telling the wrong thing to discourage you from reaching out. Unfortunately, the world of much domestic violence and abuse victims is isolated, lonely, and loaded with fear.
Reaching out and letting them understand that you’re there for them can provide immense relief and portray the light at the end of the tunnel. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you know or suspect that someone close to you is facing physical brutality and you want to know how to help if someone is being abused, this article will focus on the best ways you can help and provide them with comfort, care, and solutions.
Set Aside Time For The Victim
Once you settle to reach out to the victim, make sure that you do so in a calm time because getting entangled when tempers are erupting can put you in jeopardy. In addition, make sure to have a great deal of time available if the abuse victim opts to start talking about their situation.
In case the person does decide to open up, carefully listen to their story without offering instant advice, being judgmental, or suggesting possible solutions. If you practice active listening, chances are, the abuse victim will tell you precisely what they need. Later during the conversation, you might ask clarifying questions, but primarily just let the victim vent their fears and feelings.
Know The Warning Indications
The majority of victims attempt to cover up domestic violence abuse for different reasons. But realizing the warning indications can aid you to recognize that they’re in danger and need help.
The most obvious physical signs of domestic abuse may include busted lips, blackened eyes, sprained wrists, purple or red spots on the neck, and scrapes on the arms. Emotional symptoms may consist of: the victim being excessively apologetic or unpretentious, with low self-esteem, being fearful, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, substance abuse, being tense or edgy, talking about suicide, and losing interest in once enjoyed hobbies or activities. The most common behavioral signs include becoming distant or withdrawn, often being late, canceling meetings or appointments at the last second, unreasonable privacy regarding their personal life, and isolating from family and friends.
Offer Specific Support
Once the victim confides in you or decides to bring the subject up because you’ve noticed some warning signs, the next best thing you can do is support the victim to discover help and resources. To do that, google for phone numbers for social services, shelters, attorneys at law, support groups, or counselors. You might also want to assist them to get the correct information regarding any laws for protective orders and child custody details.
And if you’re powerless to offer specific support, try to uncover other ways this need can be satisfied. The most important thing to do is let them know that you’re there for them and available at any time of the day. In addition, it would be wise to let them know that you’re here by their side for moral support to the police, lawyer’s office, or court.
Help Create A Safety Plan
Finally, you can help the domestic abuse victim form a safety plan that will be implemented if violence happens again or if they ever choose to flee the situation. In fact, just the training of constructing a safety plan can support them imagine which measures are required and to prepare to do so psychologically.
Help the victim thoroughly think through every phase of the safety plan, considering the benefits and risks of each alternative and methods to minimize the risks. Include:
- A safe residence to go in the matter of crisis, or if they ever choose to leave their house;
- A code word to forewarn friends or family that support is immediately needed;
- A prepared excuse to leave if they feel endangered;
- An “escape bag” with essential documents (passport, social security cards, birth certificates, etc.), keys, cash, toiletries, and items of clothing that can be readily accessed in crisis circumstances;
- A list of emergency contacts, such as phone numbers from family and friends, local shelters, and domestic abuse hotline.
Even though your intuition may say to “rescue” the victim from domestic brutality, they are the ones who need to make the ultimate decision of whether they should go and obtain help. Bearing this in mind will help ensure that you support them regardless of their final decision and continue to nourish them with a safe and loving friendship.