If you find yourself in a situation where you suspect domestic abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, there are things you can do to help. Recognizing the warning signs, listening, and providing encouragement can help you guide the victim to make the best decisions and get out of a difficult situation. Here’s what you can do if you think someone you know is being abused.
3 Things You Can Do If You Suspect Domestic Abuse
1. Gather Information
The person you suspect may be suffering from domestic abuse may not have the education or the resources to get out of the situation or even know he or she is being abused. That’s why it’s important for you, as the informed observer, to gather as much information as possible. That knowledge can help empower that person to understand that they are not alone; that there is a term for what they are experiencing and there are ways to get out of their situation.
2. Mind Your Approach
Some victims may be aware of their situation but have a hard time admitting it to themselves. That’s why your approach needs to be very tactful. Rather than asking him or her outright if they are being abused, which can prompt the victim to reject the notion, focus on observations, support, and resources. For example, if you see unusual bruises or cuts, make the victim aware that you notice those things. Let them know that no one deserves to be hurt and offer a helpline number for domestic violence counseling. This will let the victim know you care without coming off as accusatory or assuming.
3. Respect the Answer
If the person you suspect is being abused gives you a fervent “no,” respect the answer you’re given. If you push the subject, you could alienate that person and deter them from asking you for help in the future. Expressing your concern is enough for that person to know that you are there to help when you need them. Providing them with resources allows them to know what’s available when they need support.
The most important thing to remember is that domestic abuse situations are all about control. Therefore, your role is to empower the one being abused to make their own decisions and support them by listening and making them aware of their power. If you know someone needs help, direct them to White Spruce Counseling in Rochester, NY. Their knowledgeable and professional staff offer domestic violence classes and can guide the victim to get them the help they need. Visit their website or call (585) 424-2436 for more information.