Suggestions for Helping

Do you know someone in a battering relationship? Do you suspect that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused? If so, don't be afraid to offer help - you just might save someone's life. Here are some basic steps you can take to assist someone who may be a target of domestic violence.

Approach her in an understanding, non-blaming way. Tell her that she is not alone, that there are many women like her in the same kind of situation, and that it takes strength to survive and trust someone enough to talk about battering.

Acknowledge that is it scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence. Tell her she doesn't deserve to be threatened, hit or beaten. Nothing she can do or say makes the abuser's violence OK.

Share information. Show her the Warning List, Violence and Non-Violence Wheels. Discuss the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power and control.

Support her as a friend. Be a good listener. Encourage her to express her hurt and anger. Allow her to make her own decisions, even if it means she isn't ready to leave the abusive relationship.

Ask if she has suffered physical harm. Go with her to the hospital to check for injuries. Help her report the assault to the police, if she chooses to do so.

Provide information on help available to battered women and their children, including social services, emergency shelter, counseling services, and legal advice. To find this information, start with the Yellow Pages.

Inform her about legal protection that is available in most states under abuse prevention laws. Go with her to district, probate, or superior court to get a protective order to prevent further harassment by the abuser. If you can't go, find someone who can.

Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship. These are often called "safety plans." Never encourage someone to follow a safety plan that she believes will put her at further risk. And remember that she may not feel comfortable taking these materials with her.


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