How to Support
What Can I Do?
You may suspect that abuse is happening to someone you know. You may feel that you shouldn't get involved or that you couldn't make a difference anyway. But you can make a difference and you could even save someone's life. You can help and you should. Start here ...
This is where it all begins. If you simply understand, you've taken a giant step forward. Do away with judgement and criticism. Don't question why she stays or how she got there in the first place. It doesn't matter. Simply recognize it and accept it. And know that abused women rely on neighbours, friends, and family for help, support, guidance, and safety. You can be one of those people.
Listen to her. Believe her. Let her talk while you listen with an open mind.
Give her clear messages to help her understand that:
- abuse is not okay
- it is not her fault
- her abuser is responsible for his own actions
- priorities are her safety and the safety of her children
- help is available
Share what you know. Help her develop a safety plan, which involves identifying the steps needed to increase safety and preparing for the possibility of further violence.
Help her find local support services for women in crisis at Getting help and finding a Shelter. Understand that you may need to go with her.
Support her through this process. Show care, concern, and empathy by offering to look after her children while she seeks help and by offering your home as a safe haven.
Respect her wishes. Accept and appreciate her decisions. She may refuse your help. Don't take it personally. Understand if she decides to stay.
Learn more about supporting abused women and talking to men who are abusive. Educate yourself by visiting http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/ Neighbours, Friends and Families is a campaign to raise awareness about woman abuse. The campaign can even help you understand the most effective way to talk to an abusive man, which is a key part of preventing violence against women. Visit http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/talking-to-the-abusive-man.html to feel confident about talking to an abusive man about his behaviour.
And remember, this could be a matter of life or death. So please, don't be a bystander.
Understand... and then act.