How to Help
Most often, a survivor of domestic violence or dating violence will seek help from their support network, including friends, family or co-workers. The manner in which you respond can have a power affect on the survivor’s life and decision to seek further help. Remember, you cannot force someone to leave their abuser. While you can help someone leave a violent relationship, it is ultimately his/her choice to change his/her life and future. Please recognize that the decision to leave an abusive relationship is not easy and the survivor will need your love and support to do so.
If a survivor reaches out to you…
- Try to remain supportive and non-judgmental
- Let them know you believe them and want to hear about their experience
- Allow them to tell their story
- Let them know you care about and are concerned for their safety
- Support their right to be angry
- Don’t deny any of their feelings
- Respect the cultural values and beliefs that affect their behavior
- Help them assess their resources and support system
- Maintain contact with them. Physical and psychological isolation are powerful control tactics used by batterers.
- Avoid “you” statements, such as “you should”. Instead use “I” statements, such as “I’m concerned.”
- Offer them phone numbers for local resources. Call Hope’s Door’s 24-hour hotline (972-422-7233) for information on our services and local resources.
- Let them know that they are not alone, it is not their fault and that help is available.