Every family is unique with its own combination of strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes families get overwhelmed by what seems like an endless list of challenges between work, school and individuals but being a victim is unlike anything you have experienced.
Trust me, It helps to know that you are not alone!!!
Lend A Sympathetic Ear
Letting your friend know you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer.
Don’t force it, allow her to confide at her own pace.
Keep an open mind; never blame or minimize the situation.
Focus on supporting her right to make her own choices in her own time.
Be very careful not to increase her danger by sharing anything she tells you with an unsafe person—
and never, under any circumstances, with the abuser.
Guide Her to Services
When she asks for advice, share the information you’ve learned.
Encourage her to call the local domestic violence hotline.
Many people who are abused first seek help from marriage counselors, members of the clergy or their doctor.
Not all helping professionals are fully aware of the special circumstances of abused women.
If the first person she contacts is not helpful, encourage her to find assistance elsewhere.
Focus on Her Strengths
Abuse systematically strips the victim of her sense of self-worth.
Give her the emotional support she needs to believe that she is a good and worthy person.
Help her examine her strengths and skills.
Emphasize that she and her children deserve a life free from abuse in any form—emotional or physical.
Help Her Develop a Safety Plan
Help her think through the steps she should take if her partner becomes abusive again and/or if she needs to leave suddenly.
Everyone Deserves to be Safe
Keep the things that she will need in a safe place so that if she has to leave quickly it will be there:
*Keys ~ house, car, office, post office box, safety deposit box
*Public Assistance Benefit Identification Card
*Passport, “green card”, work permit and any other important documents.
*Credit cards and/or account numbers
*A picture of the batterer if you have one
*Identification for yourself
*Birth certificates and Social Security Cards
*School and vaccination records
*Her partner’s date of birth
*Her partner’s work place, address and phone number
*Marriage, separation or divorce papers
*Driver’s license, car registration and title
*Order of Protection
*Custody Orders, paternity documents
*Several changes of clothes
*The fur-baby/babies vet papers and dog certificates
*Children’s favorite toys, blankets
*Lease/rental agreement, house deed
*Mortgage payment book, current unpaid bills
*Medications and prescriptions
*Pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value
*Pictures of injuries the abuser may have caused you
*Any evidence that might help police investigating your case, such as threatening letters or phone messages
*Personal items for example prescription glasses for her and her children or contact lenses.
*Last but not least “Man’s Knowledge of Women” journal.
You need to document every single date and incident.
Have her plan with her children. Make sure they know a safe place for them (a room with a lock, a neighbor’s house).
Help her to reassure her children that their job is to stay safe, not to protect her.
If She Decides to Leave
It is important to remember that battered women are in the greatest danger when they attempt to leave their abuser.
Leaving should happen with a well thought out safety plan.
Encourage your friend to call the local domestic violence hotline.
Advocates can help her examine her options for maintaining safety and
support her through the difficult and often dangerous process of leaving.
Have her open a bank account or get a credit card in your name.
Tell other neighbors that the abuser no longer lives with her. This does not mean you have to discuss to them about her abuse,
but simply let them know the abuser is not living with her anymore.
Telling people who take care of her children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If she has an
order of protection that includes your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
Have her tell someone where she works what happened. Ask that person to screen her calls.
If she has an order of protection that states where she works, have her give the boss a copy of it and a picture of her abuser.
She needs to think about a safety plan at the workplace. This should be going to and from work.
Have her make copies of important documents and keys and find a safe place for these things.
These things need to be kept with someone she trusts.