The Role of Friends & Family in Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence - Premier Counseling
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The Role of Friends & Family in Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence

Angie Bates, BA Intern

When you have a friend or family member who has been or currently is a victim of domestic violence or intimate partner abuse, you may feel helpless or unsure of what you can do. However, just being present with the person provides them much needed support and encouragement. Many victims of abuse feel weak, uncertain, and judged, so giving them the opportunity to talk to someone who cares about their well-being is very important. You can also help them with little daily tasks to take some stress off of them. For instance, if your friend or family member has children, watching after the kids to give them a break or opportunity to run errands is a tremendous help. If your loved one expresses a desire to leave a relationship where violence is a factor, you may be able to help them plan to safely leave the situation. Don’t forget that individual and family therapy can be beneficial for your loved one or for yourself during this difficult time.

How You Can Help

Other ways that you can help include:

  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Believe what they tell you
  • Be supportive and build their confidence
  • Review the Power and Control Wheel together
  • Offer practical assistance
  • Maintain contact
  • Respect their right to make their own decisions
  • Help them create a safety plan
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) or other similar group

The Importance of Listening

Remember, the most important thing you can do to help is to provide your friend or family member with a listening ear without judgment. People who are in abusive situations are often afraid to speak up about what is happening for fear of judgment or blame, particularly if they are still in the abusive situation. Situations with abusers are complex and complicated, and your friend or family member needs time and understanding from others while they work through what they need to do even though you may want to “rescue” or “save” them.

Don’t Forget – We’re Here to Help

Providing support for friends and family members who are struggling can be difficult, and the safety concerns and other stressful factors that come into play with domestic violence can be hard on anyone. That’s where individual and family therapy with Central Arkansas Group Counseling can be beneficial. It’s important for you to have resources to make sure you’re staying healthy, so you can be the best possible support system for your loved one. If you’re interested in counseling with our team, it’s easy to get started. Just give us a call in Benton or North Little Rock. We look forward to hearing from you.

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash