I’m worried about someone else
If you think someone you know is experiencing abuse, taking the time to learn about abuse and how to support someone are two important steps in helping your loved one reach safety and freedom.
If someone confides in you that they are experiencing domestic abuse there are some simple things you can do to support them. However, if the person you are worried about has not directly disclosed the abuse to you, it can be more difficult to support them but it’s good to understand how you can be there for them.
When supporting someone experiencing abuse, never put yourself in danger.
How you can support someone experiencing domestic abuse
For friends and family, it can be really challenging supporting someone who is experiencing domestic abuse but the most important thing you can do for them is to provide emotional support. Listen to them and believe them. Let them express their feelings to you and give them time and space to come to terms with the abuse.
Try to keep in mind that domestic abuse is about one person trying to control another – the perpetrator will likely have taken away a lot of the control from them, so try not to do the same. Instead of taking the situation out of their hands or making decisions for them, let them know that there is support available for them if and when they choose to reach out. They may decide that it is not the right time to get support or leave. This is okay, it’s important not to force this or judge them for making this decision. Let her set her own boundaries of what she feels is and isn’t safe, and always remember that she is the expert in her own experiences. However, if you have reason to believe that someone is in immediate danger, then you can call the police, or encourage them to call the police if they are able to do so.
When she is sharing her experiences, really listen to her, try to understand and don’t blame her. Let her know that she is not alone, and direct her to support services, like the Women’s Aid Live Chat. The support workers can help her come to terms with the abuse and talk her through her options.
When she contacts us, we promise we will never judge, we will always have a fully trained female support worker available, we will give space to explore her options and support her to make choices for her and her children and keep everything confidential. Women’s Aid is here for her.
She may have suffered physical abuse as well as emotional abuse. If she shares this information with you, you could offer to go to the GP or hospital with her. If she feels comfortable doing so, you can help her report assault(/s) to the police.
The abuser may have told her that she deserves the abuse. Let her know that this is not true, no one deserves to be threatened or hurt. There is no justification for the abuser’s behavior, the abuser is the only one responsible for their actions.