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Providing support for domestic abuse victims

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Domestic violence can be a taboo subject, and many people feel like that they’re not really sure what to say or how to broach the subject. However, it’s important you don’t’ let the fear of saying the wrong thing prevent you from reaching out, because it could be the key to changing someone’s life. 

Whilst you might not know anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse, it is still very commone, and it’s said that one in four women will experience at some point in their life. And the fact is that they’re most likely to suffer in silence for years before they tell anyone or seek help. 

Those who are abused are likely to feel lonely and isolated, so it’s important that the people around them provide some relief by letting them know that they have support and somewhere to turn to if they need it. 

Even though you might feel like you’re not doing enough to help, just listening to them speak can help. If you follow the advice below, you’ll go a big way in supporting victims of domestic abuse. 

Give them your time 
It might not seem like much, but if you reach out to someone, ensure that you give them plenty of time to speak and open up. Don’t plan it for a day when you have a million other things to do, because it might take them a while to open up. 

A way to start the conversation 
It’s probably best that you start the conversation, saying things like you’ve noticed changes that concern you, or express the worry you’re feeling. It’s important that they don’t feel like you’re pressing them for information, instead let the conversation flow and they’ll be more likely to open up. 

Don’t judge her 
It’s imperative that the victim doesn’t feel judged by you in any way; otherwise they might not turn to you again. Instead give them time to talk, and just ask questions for clarification. 

Offer your belief 
In cases of domestic abuse, it’s likely that the abuser has worn down the victim to believe they’re not worthy of love or friendship. If you offer them your firm belief in what they’re telling you, it can go a long way to helping to build their confidence. 

Give your reassurance
Let her know and make her believe that it’s not her fault, it’s important for her to know that she doesn’t deserve what is happening to her. 

Offer specialist help 
Let her know about the specific and specialist help she can receive from trained people who can help in this situation. They might be the best option for if she needs help reporting her abuser to the police, or she’d like to leave. 

You can also let her know that she could be entitled to compensation, CICA UK work to help victims of domestic abuse claim compensation, which could be necessary for helping her to leave the home she shares with the abuser. 

Be patient 
It’s important that you don’t try and rush the victim, it could take her a while to realise what is actually happening to her, and then even longer to speak out about it. If you recognise the problem, it can go a long way in helping the situation, and making a difference to the outcome in the long run. 

Please be aware, Men are often victims of domestic abuse too, however my experience with friends has been from the female perspective.