It can be difficult when you think someone you know and care about is being abused. The following information provides suggestions on how you can offer support to those experiencing violence.
Gather all the information you can about your local sexual or domestic violence program. Family Resource Center, Inc. can offer shelter, advocacy, support, and 24-hour hotline services at 1.800.613.6145.
For more information about Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence programs, visit the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance Website.
Lend an empathetic ear
Letting your friend know that you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer. Don’t force the issue, but allow them to confide in you at their own pace. Never blame the person who is being abused for what’s happening or underestimate the fear of potential danger. Remember that your friend must make their own decisions, and support your friend’s right to make those decisions.
Focus on strengths
Some people live with emotional as well as physical abuse. Your friend is probably continually told by the abuser that they are a bad person, partner, or parent. Without positive reinforcement from outside the home, your friend may begin to believe they can’t do anything right – that there really is something wrong with them.
Be a friend in deed
Tell them that you are there when they need you. Provide whatever you can – transportation, child care, financial assistance. Your support serves to remind the victim that they are not alone.
When to intervene
It cannot be overemphasized that domestic violence is a crime and can result in serious physical injury or even death. If you know that a battering incident is occurring, call the police immediately. This is the most effective way to protect the person who is being abused.