Whether it is a friend or stranger in your life who is being abused, it is natural to want to reach out and care for them. While each victim and abuser is different, there are a few things to help you know How To Help A Domestic Abuse Victim. Not all will apply to every situation, but they can all be useful to you in learning how to help a friend who is being abused.
HOW TO HELP A DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIM
Stop judging and simply be there for them. It can be tough to understand why a victim will stay in an abusive situation. While we are all prone to judge, make our own assumptions and have a lack of understanding of their actions, it is important they know you are there regardless. Sometimes that means holding your tongue, listening, praying and letting them know you are there when they are ready.
Research ways for them to escape. Take the time to look at your local resources to help them find a safe haven. Whether that means they would be staying in a women’s shelter, or hiding out in the basement of another friend, you can help by dong some of the research and giving them information.
Offer to drive them when they leave. Once the decision has been made to walk away from an abuser, that often means you have to leave everything behind. Make sure to offer to drive or help get your friend to a safe place once they are ready. That may mean some help financially or simply taking a few days off work to safely transport them somewhere away from their abuser.
Document the abuse you have seen. Documentation goes a long way toward getting a restraining order and legal action once a victim leaves an abuser. If you have been a witness to abuse, make sure to document in a safe place with pictures, dates, times locations and of course any other information that could be used in court to prove the abuse.
Reach out to their family on their behalf. A lot of victims find themselves alienated from their parents and siblings by their abuser. There are often memories of arguments, angry words and lack of support in a victims mind. Reach out to those family members for your friend and see if there is a relationship left to be repaired. Going home to mom and dad may seem scary, but is often just what a victim needs to overcome abuse.
Call the authorities. Some situations can be harder than others, and one of those is when a child is involved or being hurt. While it may hurt to step in the middle and possibly anger your friend, if you fear their child is in danger do not hesitate to contact the authorities. Make sure to have proof and understand this could potentially alienate you from your friend. Just know that the safety of a child is far more important at that time.
Offer to help make an escape plan. If your friend seems to be ready to leave the abuse, it is time for you to step forward and offer to help them. That could simply be helping pack. It could also mean you help them to save money, document abuse or make a plan to leave the state or area for safety. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone to help them be safe.
No matter what you are able to do, being a good friend they can depend upon is the most important thing. Knowing how to help a domestic abuse victim is all of these things as well as understanding that individual and their personal needs. As their friend, you will be able to better judge the type of help they need to overcome and move forward in their lives.
This is part 2 in a 5 part series on Domestic Abuse written for ReakTalkMoms.com by a former victim of domestic abuse who wants to get the information out there for everyone. Check back next Friday for part 3 – How To Help Child Victims Of Domestic Abuse.