If you believe someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence you can call us on 02 4732 2318
Domestic violence thrives in isolation so it’s crucial for us to look out for the safety and well-being of our loved ones by checking in with them. While we may have to physically distance, we shouldn’t be socially or emotionally distancing ourselves from friends, family members, and workmates. Listening, believing, and being a safe person to come to is one of the most valuable roles we can play in helping victims.
- If you want more information about how to be a safe person, you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
- If somebody is in immediate risk, then always call the police on 000
Being a support person
If you think that someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, there is some simple actions you can take to help. Listening, believing, and being a safe person to come to can make a big difference.
- It is okay to say something; most people will be glad to talk about what they are going through
- There are practical ways to help: transport, appointments, child minding, or a place to escape to
- Violence is never justified. Do not make excuses for the person responsible for the abuse and never blame the victim-survivor for what has happened to them
- Support them to make their own choices, as they are ready; do not try to force them to do what you think is best. They may not be ready, or it may not be safe to leave.
- Remember that abuse is not always physical and therefore not “visible”
- Believe them and take their fears seriously, no matter your opinion of the person who is responsible for the violence
- Listen without judgement or interruption
Help explore options by calling us on 02 4732 2318 or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732
How to have the conversation
It might seem hard, but the only way to start the conversation is to ask. You might worry that she will get angry or upset with you for asking, or will not want to talk about it. Don’t take it personally when the reaction is not as you hoped, the most important thing is that first step because she knows that you are there for her.
- Pick a quiet time to talk when the violence is not happening
- Let them talk at their own pace and let them tell as much as they are comfortable with
- If they are not ready to talk, just let them know that you are there if they need you
- Try not to give your opinion, but rather to talk about the things that you have noticed. For example:
- – I’m wondering if everything is OK at home?
- – I noticed that you have some bruises. Did someone do that to you?
- – I have noticed that you seem scared around your partner. Is everything OK?
- – I noticed how they treated you when we were at the BBQ last week. Are you alright?
Watch this video by 1800RESPECT on what to look out for or how to safely support a friend experiencing domestic violence:
Recognising the signs of domestic and family violence
Perpetrators are always very good at hiding the abuse, and victim-survivors as well maybe because of shame or out of fear for the consequences.
People in an abusive relationship might show some of the following signs:
- Suddenly stop going out without a particular reason
- Spending less and less time with friends and family
- Worrying about making someone angry
- Making excuses for someone’s bad behaviour
- Marks or injuries that can’t be explained
- Worrying about being watched or followed
Everyday actions to promote gender equality
Gender inequality is the core of the problem so gender equality must be at the heart of the solution to prevent violence against women. We can all participate in every-day actions to promote gender equality.
These are some of the recommendations by Our Watch:
- If you see or hear something sexist, whether it is an ad or something a friend has said – say so. You’re probably not the only one who thinks it’s wrong. Get comfortable with speaking out against things that are sexist or degrading!
- If you hear someone blaming a victim of sexual assault by asking: “what was she wearing?” or “was she drunk?” tell them that those kind of questions contribute to a society that excuses violence against women
- If you have suspicions, or if someone you know tells you she is experiencing violence, the most important thing you can do is listen to her, believe her, and make sure you are there to support her.
- Talk to the people in your life about your commitment to preventing violence against women and children and encourage them to be a part of this.