Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalkingServices for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
How to Help a Loved One
Set up a time to talk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted. Try to pick a location that will be safe for the both of you.
Let your loved one know you’re concerned about his/her safety. Be honest. Talk about times when you were worried about her/him. Help him/her see that what she’s/he’s going through is not right and that you want to help.
Be supportive. Listen non-judgementally. Keep in mind that it may be very hard to talk about the abuse. Tell he/she that that they are not alone, and that people want to help.
Offer specific help. You might say you are willing to just listen, to help with childcare, or to provide transportation, for example.
Don’t place shame, blame, or guilt. Don’t say, “You just need to leave.” Instead, say something like, “I get scared thinking about what might happen to you.” Tell them you understand that their situation is very difficult.
Help them make a safety plan. This includes picking a place to go and packing important items.
Encourage your loved one to talk to someone who can help. Offer to help him/her find support at the Family Shelter or another agency that helps victims of domestic or sexual violence. Offer to accompany him/her to the agency, the police station, or court.
If your loved one decides to stay, continue to be supportive. He/she may decide to stay in the relationship, or may leave and then go back many times. It may be hard for you to understand, but people stay in abusive relationships for many reasons. Be supportive, no matter what he/she decides to do.
Encourage your loved one to do things outside of the relationship. It’s important to see friends and family to maintain a support network.
If your loved one decides to leave, continue to offer support. Even though the relationship was abusive, he/she may feel sad and lonely once it is over. They may need help getting services from agencies or community groups.
Keep in mind that you can’t “rescue” your loved one. She/he has to be the one to decide it’s time to get help.
Let your loved one know that you will always be there no matter what.