09 Dec 4 Dos and Don’ts to Consider When Approaching a Domestic Abuse Victim
Domestic violence is a traumatic, sometimes life-altering experience—one that can be difficult to fully understand unless you’ve lived through it personally. Those that are dealing with or have survived domestic abuse can be in a fragile state and it is sometimes difficult for outsiders to empathize.
The following are some dos and don’ts to follow if you wish to help a domestic abuse victim cope:
- Approach the abused at times and places that are safe and confidential. During times of stress, building trust is important.
- Express concern and spend more time listening than speaking. It’s also important to not force the issue and make the abused feel uncomfortable.
- Build up the victim’s self-esteem and reassure them of their feelings. During domestic violence issues, victims can feel alone or even unsure of the situation.
- Respect the victim’s choices and needs. Always be patient and ensure that you are not pushing the victim to do something they do not want to do.
- Accuse or diagnose a victim. It’s nearly impossible to understand what they are going through, and passing judgement will only worsen the situation.
- Pressure the victim to leave an abusive relationship. In some cases, leaving an abuser can escalate a situation to dangerous, sometimes deadly levels. The point is, leaving is not always a simple fix.
- Act as the victim’s only support system. Encourage the victim to seek help from all angles, including family members, co-workers, other friends or professional resources.
- Pretend to be an expert. As is the case with many incidents of domestic abuse, professional help may be needed. Connect the victim to domestic violence resources, like the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE).
Keeping in mind the above tips will ensure that you are able to connect with and aid a domestic abuse victim effectively.