Supporting a friend or loved one who has experienced abuse can be difficult. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do or know everything to support someone; just being there to listen is enough.
Here are a few more key things to know about supporting someone you know going through domestic violence:
Be Patient: When someone has experienced violence, it can take huge strength and courage to open up about the abuse. Give them time, recognizing that it may take a few tries for them to feel comfortable talking about their experience.
Provide Support: Let them know it’s not their fault, and that you are there for them. Being able to count on the support of friends and loved ones is so important for someone experience abuse, as isolation can be a common tool used by abusers.
Respect Their Decisions: Leaving an abusive relationship can be both extremely difficult and potentially dangerous. They may decide not to take action, or to go back to the relationship and it’s important not to criticize them for this choice or make them feel guilty, as criticism can cause further shame and isolation. Provide support when and if they do choose to take action.
Ensure Safety: If you believe a friend or loved one is in immediate danger, call the police.
Look After Yourself: It’s normal to have your own reactions and feelings to hearing that someone you know has experienced abuse. Taking care of yourself and seeking informal or formal support is vital when supporting a loved one.
Click here for more information about resources in Calgary. The Family Violence Help Line is available 24 hrs a day at 403.234.7233(SAFE)