Eight ways to support a domestic violence victim
If you suspect a friend is in a controlling or abusive relationship, it's difficult to help. It often takes seven attempts for a victim to leave a relationship. That can be frustrating for those who want their loved one to get out sooner.
Don't give up. Here are some things to do:
- Listen to the victim.
- Give the victim three key assurances: "You don't deserve this;" "This is not your fault;" and "I believe you."
- Tell the victim you think he or she might be in danger.
- Give the victim phone numbers of domestic violence resources, such as the Portland Police Bureau Domestic Violence Reduction Unit: 503-823-0090 or the Portland Women’s Crisis Line: 503-235-5333
- Call and ask what you can do to help your friend.
- Don't tell the victim what to do. Abusers often prevent victims from making decisions. Telling the victim what to do could sound controlling, like the abuser.
- Ask the victim where he or she would go if he or she decided to leave. Help her or him think about making a plan.
- If abuse is actively occurring, immediately call: 9-1-1.