The best technique to support a victim of domestic abuse can be a mystery to those who know them. Keep reaching out, even if you dread saying the wrong thing. You could miss out on a chance to improve someone’s life if you’re waiting for the correct words.
Many domestic abuse victims face a world that is lonesome, secluded, and rife with anxiety. A simple phone call or email can go a long way toward alleviating their stress by letting them know you care. Below are some ways you can support them. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 if you or a loved one has been a victim of domestic abuse.
Make an Effort to Spend Time With Them
Take advantage of a peaceful moment to reach out to someone who has been a victim of abuse. When tempers are raging, it’s best to avoid getting involved. Also, give yourself plenty of breathing room in case the victim decides to divulge all of their secrets. In order to keep the conversation going, you must be prepared for the possibility that the person may reveal a lifetime of bottled-up feelings of fear and frustration.
Start a Discussion
“I’m concerned about your safety-” or “I have seen some changes that alarm me-“ are all ways to raise the issue of domestic abuse.
The person may be wearing garments to hide bruises, or they may have suddenly become reclusive and quiet. Both of these things may be indicators of abuse.
Tell the person you’re speaking with that you’ll keep any information you share private. Allow the conversation to flow at a comfortable pace rather than trying to compel the other person to open up.
Slow and easy is the way to go. The only thing you need to do is let the person know that you’re available and willing to listen.
Listen Without Making Assumptions
Listen to the person’s experience without judging, offering advise, or suggesting solutions if he or she chooses to do so. If you pay attention, the person is likely to tell you exactly what they need if you’re patient and attentive. Just give the person the chance to express themselves.
Asking clarifying questions can help, but letting the other person express their emotions and anxieties is preferable. There is a good chance that you are the first person the victim has confided in.
Believe the Survivor
A lot of the time, the victim is the only one who sees the violent nature of their abuser because domestic violence is more about control than rage. Others are often taken aback when they find that someone they know is capable of violence.
People who have been harmed often fear that no one will believe them if they tell anybody about what happened.
Tell them that you believe what they’re saying. It can be a source of comfort and hope for a victim to finally have someone who understands their plight. Read more about how to support loved ones going through tough times at https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/domestic-violence/.
Validate the Survivor’s Emotions
Conflicting thoughts concerning one’s relationship and one’s situation are common in victims. If you want to help them, you need to tell them that these contradictory thoughts are quite normal.
You also need to make it clear that violence is not acceptable and that it is not normal to live in constant fear of physical assault. Due to the lack of alternative examples of healthy relationships, some victims may not understand that their situation is odd since they have become habituated to the cycle of violence.
Remind the victim that healthy relationships do not include violence or abuse. Reassure them that their circumstance is risky and that you are worried for their safety without passing judgment on them.
Help Them Develop a Safety Plan
A safety plan should be drawn up for the victim to follow should violence occur again or they choose to leave the situation. Making a plan helps them visualize the actions they need to take and prepares them psychologically for the task at hand.
In order to protect themselves in the event of a crisis, it is critical for a victim to have a specific safety plan in place before a crisis happens or before they decide to leave their abusive spouse.
Help the victim consider the risks and benefits of each option and strategies to lessen the risks at each stage of the safety plan.