How You Can Help
- Know the local resources.
- Offer helpline numbers.
- Be supportive and empowering rather than directive.
- Ask how you can help or what the person needs rather than telling the person what to do.
- Highlight the person’s strengths.
- Stress that the abuse is not the person’s fault.
- Emphasize that the person has rights and should always be treated with dignity and respect.
- Help remove barriers by offering a phone and a private place to call a helpline or offering childcare so the person can meet with someone from a domestic abuse program or lawyer.
- Listen actively and non-judgmentally.
- Avoid questions that start with “why.” Even if you are just trying to figure out what is going on, “why” can sound judgmental or accusatory.
- Be patient.
- Telling someone about an abusive relationship can be difficult and even scary. You may not get the whole story right away (or ever).
- Seeking help is a process. Someone in an abusive relationship might not want to make changes right away. Even if an action plan seems clear to you, remember that the person in the abusive relationship needs to be the one to decide what to do and when to do it.
- If you think it’s appropriate to ask the person about abuse, there are different ways to bring it up. For example…
- I’m concerned about you (and explain why).
- Do you feel safe at home?
- What happens when you and your partner disagree or argue?
- If you don’t feel it’s appropriate to raise the issue directly, consider ways to build your connection with the person.
- Get support for yourself.
- It can be hard to be someone’s confidant. It’s fine to tell the person that you need to step back from time to time.
- Keep the door open.
- Protect the privacy and confidentiality of the person you are helping.
This program is supported by MOVA through a 1984 VOCA grant from the OVC, OJP, US Department of Justice.
For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.
This program is funded in part by CJP.