Domestic Violence - How to Help
Many victims of
domestic violence are willing to talk about their
relationship when they are approached in a kind and understanding manner. But
don't confront a victim if the person is not ready to talk. Let the person know
you are willing to listen whenever he or she wants to talk. Be understanding if
the person is unable to leave. He or she often knows the situation best and
when it is safest to leave.
Reassure the person that the abuse is
not his or her fault and that no one deserves to be abused. If the person has
children, gently point out that you are concerned that the violence is
affecting them. Many victims do not understand that their children are being
harmed until someone else voices the concern.
Remind the victim
that domestic violence is against the law and that help is available. You may
be able to help a victim understand his or her options. Be willing to assist in
any way you can with transportation, money, or child care. Encourage your
friend to talk with a health professional.
The most dangerous
time for a victim of domestic violence can be when the person is leaving an abusive
relationship, so any advice about leaving must be knowledgeable and practical.
Encourage the victim to get advice from an advocacy agency with experience in
the area of domestic violence.
Helping a person contact local
domestic violence groups is an important step. If you know someone who is being
abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE
(1-800-799-7233) or see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at www.ncadv.org/resources/StateCoalitionList.php to find the nearest program offering
shelter and legal support. There are many programs across the country that
provide options for safety, advocacy, support, and needed information and
Here are some other ways to help: