5 Ways To Safely Help Someone Who's Dealing With A Domestic Violence Situation

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how to help abuse victim domestic violence situation
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Self, Heartbreak

This article discusses Domestic Violence, how it affects people from all walks of life, and what you can do to help. If any of this is triggering for you, please use the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800)799-7233, or visit www.thehotline.org.

October is a lot of things: the beginning of Scorpio season, the month of spooky vibes, but it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness month. For the average person, this may not ever affect you directly, but more likely than not, you or someone you know has met someone who has been affected by relationship violence and abuse.

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Domestic violence is a scary thing to go through, and if you’re chosen as a confidant to your friend or neighbor, you may not know what to do to help. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, here are 5 ways to help someone in a Domestic Violence or abusive situation.

1. Be there for them.

This may seem obvious, and maybe a little counter-intuitive, but one of the most important things to realize is that the most dangerous time for someone in a domestic violence situation is when they decide to leave. It’s when they could be at their most vulnerable, and when their partner can become the most unstable.

You, as a friend, need to be there for them in the most basic and pure form of the word. Ask how she is. Has she been hurt? Does she feel like she’s in danger? Most importantly, what does she want to do?

Do not, I repeat, do NOT force your friend to report if they are adamant about not reporting it. This could push your friend away or make the situation much more difficult for her. Be her shoulder to cry on and her journal to let out her emotions.

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2. Have her call a helpline.

If she does want to get help, but doesn’t know how to go about it, offer to be with her when she calls a helpline. She may not want to go to the police directly. Calling a helpline first means that those advocates will help her walk through making a safety plan for her and her kids (if she has any).

Getting advice from someone who is professionally trained to help in these kinds of situations can help put her more at ease.

3. Help her pack a bag (and keep one with you).

When she decides that she is going to leave, it will be scary and nerve-wracking. Help her start to pack a to-go bag with clothes, toiletries, some cash, and identification cards. Some domestic violence relationships will have the abuser control finances and identification cards, so it may be more difficult for her to get that.

Pack two bags — one for her to keep somewhere safe, and another for a trusted friend or contact to have. If she does not have time to grab her own bag, she will know there is somewhere for her to go to have what she needs.

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4. Start to collect evidence.

It’s important to collect evidence of abuse if you fear for someone’s safety. If they have been physically abused and have markings, suggest that you (or her) take photos when you are in a safe place away from the abuser. These photos can become vital evidence if your friend chooses to go to court or wants to get some sort of restraining order.

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This can be especially important to safety of children too, if the abuser is the father.

5. Help her form a plan.

A local domestic violence hotline can direct you to shelters in your area that are safe and secure for your friend after their leave the relationship. A lot of these shelters have their own modes of transportation and can help with discreet transportation.

Do not disclose their location to anyone outside of their trusted circle. If family members are not supportive or could risk her safety, do not disclose the information of where she is. This could not only put your friend in danger, but also the lives of the other women in the shelter.

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Kayla Baptista is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.