If you know of domestic violence taking place, you might feel clueless about what to do or how to help.
However, you shouldn’t keep quiet or let fear hold you back from speaking up, taking action, or reaching out.
Domestic violence is often detrimental to the victim’s overall health and mental well-being and can result in death.
Keep reading to learn what you can do to help victims of domestic violence.
The process to take to help a victim of domestic violence
Here’s the process you should take if you know of domestic violence taking place:
1. Ask if they’re safe
The first step to helping a victim of domestic violence is to ask if they’re safe. Whether they’re a neighbour, a close friend, or a family member, ask if they need someone to talk to and what you can do to help.
You can make them aware that you know what’s happening, but don’t pressure them or promise any help you can’t follow through with.
Similarly, don’t underestimate the potential danger to the victim and yourself. They’re likely to say they’re fine and safe when they’re not.
2. Give them a local helpline number
Many domestic violence victims feel frightened of or controlled by their abusers, making it difficult for them to speak and open up.
An easy way to make them feel supported and help is to give them the number of a local domestic violence helpline. These helplines offer victims free, confidential advice and support and encourage them to take action.
Whether that’s filing a restraining order or contacting family solicitors such as Cordell and Cordell, helplines encourage victims to take charge to stop the abuse. Remember, the victim may not talk to you, but they may speak to a hotline or helpline and get help.
3. Offer other domestic abuse support services
Other than domestic violence helplines, there are numerous support services you can offer to the victim. For example, you can offer a ride to a local shelter, where they can seek refuge until a family member comes along or any other help. You can also provide them with a place to make a phone call to the police, local authorities, or their family.
4. Call local authorities
If the violence is actively occurring, call 999 immediately. Local authorities will remove the immediate danger to the victim and ensure their safety. They can also intervene and arrest the abuser, pressing charges.
Some domestic violence victims and survivors may not want police to become involved. However, if there’s an immediate risk of them being harmed, it’s vital to contact the local authorities. If it’s not an emergency, but you know the violence is taking place, get the neighborhood policing team involved.
5. Speak to a Friend
If you are completely unsure of how to respond to the fact that someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence, why not approach a friend and console them? Often it is easier to tackle life problems when you share the load with loved ones.
Unfortunately, it is also quite common for domestic violence to take place and it may be that the person you decide to talk to has experience with it either directly or indirectly and can assist in recommending the next step in your plan to stop it from happening.
There are many resources available and also companies that deal with discreet reports of domestic violence and domestic abuse. One that can be recommended in the UK is the NCDV (National Centre of Domestic Violence). They are trained professionals in both dealing with people being abused and people who wish to report that someone they know or love is experiencing domestic abuse.
The important points are that you are not alone in this and that there are plenty of people whose job it is to deal with these concerns. Remember to support your friend or loved one in any way you can as DV and DA are real and occur regularly in every country around the world.
We hope this resource is helpful and that we can help tackle these issues one step at a time.