BELIEVE AND VALIDATE
How to help someone you suspect is a victim of domestic violence.
HOW TO HELP
Life for many experiencing domestic violence, life can be lonely, and isolated. Sometimes reaching out and letting them know that you are there for them can provide tremendous relief. Use the following tips to help you support someone in this vulnerable situation.
Open up conversation
By reaching out to someone you think or, you know may be experiencing physical or emotional abuse. Ask questions like:
→“I’m worried about you because”
→“I’m concerned about your safety"
→"I have noticed some changes in you that concern me"
→"Is everything okay at home"
Maybe you've noticed the person has suddenly become unusually quiet and withdrawn. Let the person know that you will be discreet about any information disclosed. Do not try to force them to open up; let the conversation unfold naturally.
If the individual does decide to talk, listen without being judgmental, don't offer advice, or suggest solutions. Chances are if you actively listen, they'll tell you exactly what they need.
Domestic conflict is about control, often the victim is the only one who sees and experiences the perpetrators' abuse. Many times, others are shocked to learn that a person they know could commit violence, and victims often feel that no one would believe them if they told people about their experiences. Believe the victim's story, and offer them these assurances:
→I believe you
→This is not your fault
→You don't deserve this
Validate their feelings
It's not unusual for victims to express conflicting feelings about their partner and their situation. If you want to help, it's important that you validate their feelings by letting them know that having these conflicting thoughts is normal. It is also important that you confirm that violence never okay.
Some victims may not realize that their situation is negative because they haven't had positive models for relationships and have gradually become accustomed to the cycle of violence. Tell the victim that violence and abuse aren't part of healthy relationships. Without judging, confirm to them that their situation is dangerous, and you are concerned for their safety.
Offer specific support
Help the victim find support and resources. Here you'll find telephone numbers for crisis services and support groups for Regina residents.
The important thing is to let them know that you are there for them, If possible, offer to go along for moral support as they file a complaint to the police.
Call the police
If you know that violence is actively occurring, call 911 immediately. The police are the most effective way to remove the immediate danger to the victim and their children.
There are no situations in which children should be left in a violent situation. Do whatever is necessary to ensure their safety, even if it means going against the wishes of the victim.
Bruises on the face, arms or neck
Sprained wrists, fingers
Anxious or on edge
Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities and hobbies
Becoming withdrawn or distant
Sudden and excessive privacy of their personal life
Isolating themselves from friends and family