If you have a friend, family member, neighbor or colleague who is a victim of domestic violence, encourage her to contact the local women’s shelter. Experienced, empathetic counsellors will be able to provide confidential information and advice and help her to develop a safety plan.
In addition, you can help by offering support, information and assistance in accessing community programs.
- Let her know you are there to help. Listen to her without being critical or judgmental.
- Assure her that she is not to blame for the abuse and that she is not alone.
- Help her provide for any immediate medical and personal needs and make sure that she and her children are safe.
- Gather and pass on information about relevant community programs and assistance: shelters, sexual assault centres, legal aid, financial assistance etc.
- Encourage her to call DASO’s 24-hour crisis/help line (519-539-4811 or 1-800-265-1938). You may call that line as well for information and suggestions on how to support your friend.
- Offer to play a role in her safety plan which might involve: providing emergency shelter; providing transportation; safeguarding pre-packed luggage, documents and/or money that would be required in an emergency.
- Visit the Neighbours, Friends and Families website, www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca , for information and further suggestions on how you can help.
- Give her time to make her own decisions and respect her confidentiality.