It should never be forgotten that it can be dangerous for a victim to leave their abusive partner. It is strongly recommended that you consult a help resource specializing in violence that can provide them with adequate support. These resources are able to help the victim create protection scenarios within the relationship, but also if they are planning to leave an abusive partner in an emergency. The most important thing is that the woman and her children are safe.
Your safety is also important; you have the right to set your limits and seek professional help.
Here are some tips to help you support a woman victim of violence
- It is difficult for victims to talk about their experiences of violence. Adopt an attitude of understanding by avoiding judging or blaming the person;
- Listen to her and offer her your support without pressure to prevent her from becoming isolated;
- Remember that she understands her own situation well – let her make her own decisions at her own pace and without telling her what to do;
- Avoid speaking out against the partner and instead condemn the violent behavior. Remind the victim that violence is unacceptable, that her partner is the only one responsible for his actions, and that she does not deserve to be treated in this way, regardless of the justifications for the violence;
- Give her information about existing resources and encourage her to seek help;
- Encourage her to file a complaint if she is a victim of crime, support her and guide her towards the resources that can assist her in her efforts.
Witnessing an abusive situation is always difficult, even more so if it is our daughter, our sister or our friend. As relatives, we often feel helpless or powerless in the face of the distress of a loved one.
Here are some tips to guide you in this kind of situation:
- Believe the victim
It is sometimes very difficult for a victim to confide things about their marital experience.
- Be available in the person’s life
Keeping a victim from being isolated in their relationship can keep them and their children safer. A healthy and supportive social network helps victims cope.
- Be vigilant in the face of relationship violence
Don’t let the abuser’s words influence you too much.
- Remain aware of the potential for danger
It is important to respect the victim’s decisions regarding her relationship and the partner as there is a real danger of escalation.
- Help the victim to make up their own mind about the situation
A victim of violence has a view of the situation imposed on them by the abusive partner, which can cloud their perception of the situation and how they see the violence for what it is.
- Support the victim in the recovery of empowerment over their life
- Counter the effects of violence on the victim
- Offer your help and provide the victim with access to violence resources
- Avoid feeling helpless
- Learn about the problems of violence in general and do not hesitate to consult the help resources to assist you with finding solutions.
If you suspect that a child you know could be a victim of or exposed to violence, go with your gut feeling and find out what is going on.
- Ask open-ended questions that get the child to talk about what they are going through;
- Provide a safe and open place for them to talk;
- If you wish to confide or have any questions, do not hesitate to call a shelter for assistance.
Reactions to avoid
- lt is important never to tell a child that what they are about to tell you is going to be kept a secret. You can tell them that you are only going to talk to the relevant people and that they will be made aware of this beforehand;
- Making judgments on the behavior of parents in front of the child;
- Trivializing the violence experienced or trying to change the subject;
- If you are given information in confidence and have concerns, do not hesitate to call a shelter for assistance.