If you know or suspect that someone is a victim of domestic violence, you might feel clueless about the best way to help. Don’t let fear of saying the wrong thing prevent you from reaching out. Waiting for the perfect words could keep you from seizing the opportunity to change a life.
The world for many domestic abuse victims can be lonely, isolated, and filled with fear. Sometimes reaching out and letting them know that you are there for them can provide tremendous relief. Use the nine tips that follow to help you support someone in this vulnerable situation.
Make Time for the Domestic Violence Victim
If you decide to reach out to an abuse victim, do so during a time of calm. Getting involved when tempers are flaring can put you in danger. Also, make sure to set aside plenty of time in case the victim decides to open up. If the person decides to disclose years of pent-up fear and frustration, you will not want to end the conversation because you have another commitment.
Starting the Conversation
You can bring up the subject of domestic violence by saying that you have noticed some changes that concern you. Maybe you’ve seen the person wearing clothing to cover up bruises or noticed that the person has suddenly become unusually quiet and withdrawn. Both can be signs of abuse.
Let the person know that you will keep any information disclosed quiet. Do not try to force the person to open up; let the conversation unfold at a comfortable pace. Take it slow and easy. Just let the person know that you are available and offering a sympathetic ear.