Do you have a friend or neighbor who may be being abused?
If you know of someone who is being abused this page was created to give you ideas of what to do, and what not to do in order to help that person. Remember, that all anyone can do is to lend support to our friends and neighbors, we cannot make decisions for them. This is difficult when we see them suffer at the hands of another person. But hopefully with your suppport they find the courage to take the first steps towards safety and healing.
HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO HELP:
1. Listen. You don't have to know everything for someone to vent their frustration. If you act like you know it all and give lots of advice, people will shut down and not talk anymore. Be open to what they have to say and do not judge.
2. Be patient. For some people it takes time for them to leave an abusive situation or to ask for help from agencies because of the implications that will have on their future. Everyone seeks help on their own timeline. Be patient and be supportive even if you do not agree with their decisions.
3. Give out the phone numbers of local organizations that can help. Give the victim the phone number for Crime Victim's Assistance and Henderson House. If the victim cannot do it alone, offer to go with him or her to offer support.
4. Help create a safety plan. Click the link and print it off for your friend and help fill it out.The Safety Plan is designed to get victims thinking about how to stay safe and possible ways of getting out of a dangerous situation. Your help and support in filling out the safety plan could be a lifeline for your friend.
5. If you are a neighbor and hear an active fight happening, call the police. Call 911 and provide critical information to help law enforcement quickly responds to the situation and to deal with it correctly. The key information needed by emergency responders is:
Location – both address and where the fight is occurring (such as in back bedroom or on front porch)
Participants – including names or physical descriptions if available·
Indications of weapons – with participants or available in area·
Others involved (especially kids nearby)·
License plates or descriptions of involved vehicles·
Are there any visible injuries and if so, how serious do they appear to be (for EMS responders)·
Your name and contact numbers (as well as whether you are wanting to remain anonymous)·
What actions or statements have been made by participants
Once law enforcement and EMS arrive, wait for them to control the situation before attempting to get in and tell what you saw. They will get your statements as soon as it is reasonably safe and practicable for them to do so. It is easier and safer for you if that is not directly in front of the involved parties.
6. Start documenting. If you witness one or more domestic incidents, it would be a good idea to make written notes of dates, times, and your observations. Your ongoing documentation can help bolster a victim’s courage and credibility when they are finally willing to pursue legal assistance
HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO AVOID:
1. We do not recommend intervening in a physical altercation between domestic partners except as a last resort. Every person has a moral obligation to step in and prevent someone from being killed or seriously injured, however domestic violence situations can escalate unexpectedly (from violent to deadly) and the victim you are protecting may unexpectedly come to their assailant’s aid, putting you in an extremely dangerous situation. This includes both the physical danger from the fight, and the likely legal implications of both parties accusing you of being the aggressor. Even trained police officers wait until they have assistance before actually intervening in a domestic altercation because of the dangerous dynamics of the situations.
2. It is easy to give advice to your friend about his or her situation. However, many things impact our decision making process including our financial situation and past experiences. Be careful not to judge your friend. Do not make threats to them saying that you will no longer be their friend if they do not leave their abuser.
3. Try avoid using phrases like, "Everything is going to be okay", or "It's all right". When someone is living in an abusive home things are not okay! Try using phrases like, "I am here for you if you need me", or "Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you."
The agencies of Crime Victim's Assistance or Henderson House would be happy to speak with you at anytime to give you ideas on how to help your friend or neighbor. Both agencies have advocates that are available 24 hours a day. Do not hesitate to call one of these agencies so they can help you learn more on how you can support your friend or neighbor. Here is their contact information:
You can go to Henderson's House website by clicking below