Domestic Violence-Part 4: How Can You Help

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If you know someone who you think is being abused by their spouse or partner, here's what you can do to help:

  1. Let them know you are worried about them and want to help. Don't tell them what to do or try to take control of the situation.
  2. Don't blame the victim, imply they did something to 'bring it on,' or tell them they are stupid for staying.  It's hard to understand why people stay in abusive relationships - some common reasons are love, belief the abuse will change, self-blame, and fear that the abuse will get worse if they try to break it off.  But the worst thing you can do if you want to help is to reinforce the idea that they are to blame.
  3. Help them to reduce isolation. Abusers often cut their victims off from friends and family members. Tell them you'll be there for them whether they decide to stay in the relationship or not.
  4. Connect them with a domestic violence advocate who can help them develop a safety plan. Call one of the numbers below to find out what resources are available in your area.

Finally, if you know someone who's being abusive, do not look the other way. Confront the specific behavior, tell them you are willing to support their efforts if they are willing to get help for changing but will not support abuse, and do not accept excuses, justifications or victim-blaming. Call one of the numbers below to find out how to get help for the abusive person. The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program 212-503-6842 NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-HOPE (4673) National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224) National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 866-331-9474 (TDD 866-331-8453)