Do You Know a Woman Being Battered?
Your support and encouragement can be of tremendous value to a friend involved in an abusive relationship. You can ease the isolation and loss of control by listening, providing information, and helping your friend to explore options.
Gather all the information you can about domestic violence. Contact programs and services in your area that assist victims of intimate partner violence and their children. When asked for advice on what to do, share the information you have gathered. Let her know she is not alone and there are caring people available.
Lend a sympathetic ear
Letting your friend know you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer. Don't force this issue. Never blame the victim for what is happening or underestimate the victims' fear of potential danger. Never repeat what has been told to you to the abuser, unless given permission.
Remember that your friend or family member must make his or her own decisions. Focus on supporting your friend or family member's right to make his or her own choices. Emphasize their strengths and skills and that everyone deserves to live a life that is free from violence.
Help develop a safety plan
Encourage your friend to develop a plan to protect herself and her children. Help her think through the steps she should take if her partner becomes abusive again. Make a list of people she can call and places she can go.
If she decides to leave
If your friend decides to leave, a domestic violence shelter may be an option and a safe place to go. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to find out where the nearest shelter is located.
When to intervene
It cannot be overemphasized that domestic violence can result in serious physical injury or even death. If you are a neighbor or otherwise know that a battering incident is occurring, call the police immediately. Calling the police does not always mean that an abuser will be put in jail.