Are you worried a friend or family member may be in danger or getting hurt? Here are some ways to help others experiencing relationship abuse.
It can be difficult to talk about domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. You don’t need to feel like you have all the answers to be supportive. You should listen and believe them without judgement. Instead of providing advice, here’s what you can say to someone who is experiencing relationship violence:
- It is not their fault
- They are not alone
- You are there for them
Remember that you should spend more time listening than talking.
Respect their choices
You may wonder why someone would stay with a person who is hurting them, but keep in mind that they know what is safe for them at this moment. Abusive relationships or being harmed by someone you care about can be emotionally and physically dangerous. It’s especially dangerous when someone tries to leave their relationship.
Help them connect to resources and support
They may not be ready to accept help now, but let them know you’ll be there when they need you. Offer to watch their kids while they seek out support or to sit with them when they call for help.
Give them Cornerstone’s 24/7 Day One Crisis Hotline contact information
Let them know they can call, text or chat online with an advocate any time, day or night, whether they want to find a safe place to go or to get support over the phone. Interpreters are available for anyone who contacts the crisis hotline.
Help them stay safe
If they aren’t ready to leave right now, help them develop a safety plan. You can contact Cornerstone or the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line for assistance with safety planning. You could offer to store a copy of important documents, precious items, an extra set of car keys and emergency money at your home if the need for a quick escape arises.
Offer to help get medical attention
Offer to drive to the doctor or hospital if anyone is hurt now or in the future.
Take care of yourself
Take care of yourself when you are supporting someone in your life who is experiencing violence or abuse. You might need to seek help from someone else. You can consider contacting a professional or another trusted individual that does not know them personally such as a therapist or spiritual leader. Do not discuss their situation with mutual friends or family. Cornerstone’s Concerned Persons Support Group may be a good fit for you. Anyone in Minnesota can call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline to speak with a trained advocate for support.
You don’t have to have all of the answers to help someone who is experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence or human trafficking. It is important for victims / survivors to have someone in their life who supports them without judgement. Listening, respecting their decisions and showing up for them — while taking care of yourself — is key.