Provide support and resources to friends and family experiencing abuse
Talking to someone who you think is experiencing domestic violence, dating violence, or sexual assault is not easy. However, you can help make a difference in the life of a friend or family member by listening and connecting them with the appropriate resources.
Below are suggestions for helping someone in an abusive relationship:
- Determine a time and place where it is safe to talk
- Listen, do not judge them or react negatively or harshly
- Say things such as "I'm sorry that happened to you," "I believe you," or "it's not your fault;" survivors who hear these words are more likely to seek additional support
- Understand that victims often love their partners but want the abuse to stop
- Affirm their feelings
- Be supportive without giving advice, say things like "what can I do to be helpful?" or "what do you need to be safer?"
- Tell your friend/family member they are not to blame for the violence; the abuser is responsible
- Connect your friend/family member with community resources, such as our Domestic Violence Victim Services Program
- Be patient and continue to affirm their feelings
- Be a source of support and continually remind them of their strengths
Be aware of the risks of leaving an abusive relationship
Remember, leaving an abusive partner is a process, not an event, and the risk for serious assault increases when victims leave or attempt to leave their partner. Bearing this in mind, please feel encouraged to seek support for yourself from Waypoint's 24/7 Resource & Support Line at 800.208.0388.