Tips for Parents or Friends of a Victim of Domestic Violence
1.) Say nothing against the abuser. DON’T say the abuser doesn’t deserve him/her, the abuser is bad, etc. Conveying negative thoughts about the abuser may encourage the victim to defend him/her and the behavior. Keep the abuser out of your message as much as possible. FOCUS on the victim’s safety and your support for him/her.
2.) DO tell the victim specifically why you are concerned, that you believe he/she is being hurt and controlled. Let them know that you care about him/her and that their safety is of utmost importance to you.
3.) DON’T confront the abuser directly. Often this may result in an increased risk for the victim and may place you in danger as well.
4.) DO tell him/her that there are ways to increase safety and you will help connect them to the resources that can offer the assistance he/she needs. It is important for the victim to know that they have options.
5.) DO let the victim know that you realize that he/she is the one that needs to decide on what action to take and when. When he/she is ready, you will be there to help her as much as you can. (Domestic violence is about power and control. Making choices for your family/ friend is what the abuser does. Giving your family/ friend the freedom to make the choice of what to do is empowering and important.)
6.) Be supportive of the victim, but not of the abusive relationship. DO recognize your own boundaries and safety. Be supportive, but not at the risk of putting yourself in physical or emotional danger.
7.) DO learn about domestic violence so you will understand as much as possible about what the victim is experiencing and the barriers he/she may be face when leaving.
8.) DO remember that as much as you love and care for the victim, you cannot change his/her life for them. It is NOT your fault if the victim decides to stay or return. Abuse is a choice the abuser makes.
Give him/her the number to the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc.