Domestic violence isn’t just traumatic for the victims. It can also be devastating for the people who know and love them.
Too often, people who know domestic violence victims feel helpless. They may watch their relationships get worse and worse over time, and what starts out as emotional abuse quickly turns into physical abuse. Because people in abusive relationships are often reluctant to leave for many reasons, the people closest to them are frequently the most important resources they have.
In this blog, we’ll discuss ways that you can help people in your life who you suspect or know are victims of domestic violence.
Listen, Don’t Judge
Domestic violence situations are often complex. It’s often difficult for outside parties to understand how or why they happen, especially when the situations escalate and worsen over time. Victims aren’t always ready to leave these situations right away, but they almost always need someone to talk to who will listen to them, support them, and avoid judging them.
Believe Their Story
It can take a lot of courage for domestic violence victims to open up about what’s happening to them. They may feel partially to blame for the mistreatment they’ve suffered, or they may feel ashamed that they’ve let the abuse go on for so long. It’s important to believe a victim who reaches out to you and trusts you enough to share their story with you.
Provide a Safe Place
If your home or apartment can accommodate them, opening up your living space to a domestic violence victim as needed or for a longer time period can be highly beneficial. In many cases, victims feel immense relief just from knowing they have another place where they can go if things get out of hand at home and they feel scared or are unsure of what to do.
Help Them Create an Emergency Plan
Many domestic violence victims live in fear of the violence escalating to a level that puts them in immediate threat of severe bodily harm or even death. However, they may not know what to do if a situation like that arises. Helping victims pack “escape bags” that contain essentials like cash and keys, creating lists of emergency contacts, and keeping your home open for them can save them from serious injury.
Avoid Communicating with the Abuser
You may be tempted to play the role of mediator when a friend or family member tells you they’re a victim of domestic violence. But trying to broker peace or defuse situations like these is best left to professionals or even the family court system. Keep contact with the abuser to a minimum and don’t try to mediate on your own.
Help Them Get Medical Treatment
Every aspect of domestic violence can be distressing and even embarrassing for victims. Many are too ashamed to seek medical attention after they’ve been physically struck, and they also may be afraid of what will happen if healthcare providers realize what’s going on. Going to a doctor’s office or emergency room with a victim after they’ve been injured can help them take the rights steps towards protecting their health and their rights.
Connect Them with Domestic Violence Groups
It’s important to do as much as you can to assist someone experiencing domestic violence, but there’s only so much one person can do. Orange County has many resources for people experiencing domestic violence, and connecting them with places where they can call or visit in person can help them work towards a bright future. Orange County’s website include a list of domestic violence shelters and hotlines, as well as links to information on restraining orders and other legal aspects of domestic violence.
Encourage Them to Contact a Lawyer
One of the most effective ways to address and end domestic violence is through the legal system. California’s family court system provides many resources to protect victims, but navigating it effectively requires experience and knowledge of the law. Victims who have lawyers on their sides often experience faster resolutions and more protection from the legal system than those who don’t.
We’re Here to Help with Your or Anyone Else’s Domestic Violence Case
Whether it’s you, a friend, a family member, a coworker, or even an acquaintance who’s dealing with domestic violence, having trusted resources and caring people on your side can make all the difference.
At The Law Office of André J. Ausseresses, APC, we understand how frightening and devastating domestic violence can be, and we believe that no one should have ever to live with this type of fear hanging over their heads. Contact us today for a free initial consultation. We want to put our experience to work to protect you and those you love.
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Helping you through family law matters such as divorce, domestic violence, legal guardianship, child support, child custody, visitation rights, alimony and more.
Serving all of Orange County, California.
Call: (949) 244-8871