Friends - How You Can Help
Do you know someone in a violent relationship? Do you suspect that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused? If so, don't be afraid to offer help. You just might save someone's life.
Here are Some Basic Steps You Can Take to Assist Someone Who May Be a Target of Domestic Violence
- Approach your friend in an understanding, non-blaming way. Tell him/her that he/she is not alone, that there are people like him/her in the same kind of situation, ant that it takes strength to survive and trust someone enough to talk about the abuse.
- Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence. Tell this person that he/she doesn't deserve to be threatened, hit or beaten. Nothing a person can do or say makes the abuser's violence ok.
- Share information. show your friend the warning list, violence and non-violence wheels, and other information. Discuss the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power and control.
- Support this person as a friend. Be a good listener. Encourage the person to express his/her hurt and anger. Allow the person to make her or his own decision, even it it means not being ready to leave the abusive relationship.
- Ask if your friend has suffered physical harm. Go with him/her to the hospital or Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center to check for injuries. Help report the assault to the police, if she or he chooses t do so.
- Provide information on the Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center and the help available to battered women, men, and their children, including social services, emergency shelter, counseling services, and legal advice.
- Inform your friend about legal protection that is available. Go with her or him to district, probate, or superior court to get a protective order to prevent further harassment by the abuser. If you can't go, find someone who can.
- Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship. Help your friend with his/her safety plan checklist. However, never encourage someone to follow a safety plan that the person believes will put him/her at further risk. Remember, your friend may not feel comfortable taking these materials with him/her.
- Consider both short and long term measures. Short term measures consist of assistance programs, like the Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center and safe houses, that protect the victim. these programs focus on the critical period after the victim leaves the home. This is the period when a victim is most at risk. the batterer often seeks retribution, or the victim may return to the home out of a sense of hopelessness. Long term measure seek to educate the public and empower the victim to reestablish a life without violence.