Many victims of domestic violence do not seek professional help, or any kind of support at all. Those that do seek support are most likely to seek support from a loved one or friend. When someone comes to you in need of support it can be confronting, but we are here to help you support your loved one. Addressing family and domestic abuse can be difficult, but there are ways you can support a victim.
Here at Life Resolutions, work to provide useful information surround mental health and support. Our Director, Jodie Brenton alongside our principal psychologist, Mary Magalotti, work to ensure that this information and support is accessible to those that need it. Here are some ways that you can best support someone experiencing domestic or family violence.
Signs Someone May Be Experiencing Domestic Abuse
- Your friend constantly worried about partner’s thoughts
- They seem anxious around their partner
- Concerned that their partner will get angry about little things
- Making excuses for their partner all the time
- Not attending social outings that don’t involve their partner
- Joking about their partner’s violent outbursts
- Having injuries and offering unlikely or no explanations
If you are concerned about your friend or think they may be experiencing abuse, you should carefully talk to them. You should gently express your concerns, and ask them how they are. If your friend or family member is avoiding the conversation, don’t force the subject, just let them know you are there for them if they need you in the future. You should aim to be understanding, non-judgmental and avoid being pushy. They may be scared to open up about the abuse in fear of the consequences to them or someone they love.
Actions To Take if Someone You Know Is Being Abused
- Safety is always the first priority– consider if what you are doing or saying is putting your friend’s safety above all else.
- Believe the person’s claims – don’t question the validity of their stories or situation, this can make them feel unsupported.
- Provide reassurance that the situation is not their fault
- Listen actively and empathetically – be supportive and encourage them to open up and seek help.
- Offer to go with them to a support service – taking your car or another transport service can provide an extra level of safety.
- Stay in contact with the person – this will help them feel supported.
- Identify a code work to signal when they are in danger
- Let them use your phone or device to contact support services – it may not be safe for them to use their own
Doing these things offer a great level of support to the victim.
It is important that you don’t:
- Confront the abuser, this can cause an increase in abuse
- Pressure the victim to leave
- Use social media – tagging or sharing photos can give away the victim’s location
Here at Life Resolutions, we aim to ensure that everyone is happy, healthy and safe. We provide trauma support and support for those experiencing domestic or family violence. Jodie Brenton and Mary Maglotti want to encourage you to seek support if you, your someone you know is experiencing abuse (we have provided links below). You can also reach out to the Life Resolution team online or over the phone.
If there is immediate danger, please contact 000
- Safe Steps Victoria
- Rape and Domestic Violence Services
- Mission Australia
- Domestic Violence Resource Centre