What Can I Do To Help A Victim?

Listen to the woman and believe her.

Her physical safety is the first priority. Discuss her options and help her make plans for her and her children's safety. She may not feel safe taking informational materials with her. Respect her need for confidentiality, since it may be necessary to her survival

Tell her:

  • that the abuse is not her fault and she is not to blame

  • that she is not alone and that domestic assault happens to many women

  • that help is available

  • that without intervention, abuse often escalates in frequency and severity over time * violence is never justifiable

  • most abusers cannot change without specialized professional help, no matter what the abuser says

  • that abuse is about power and control

Help her find and get to a shelter or other advocacy resources.

Help her find expert assistance. Refer her only to specialized domestic violence counseling programs, not to couples counseling.

Give her a list of key community resources:

  • social services

  • counseling services

  • support groups

  • legal advice

  • crime victims' advocates

Ask if she has suffered physical harm. Go with her to the hospital to check for injuries. Help her report the assault to the police, if she chooses to do so.

Inform her about legal protection that is available through the courts. Go with her to district or superior court to get a protective order to prevent further attacks or harassment by the abuser.

If you can't go with her to get medical, legal, or other assistance, find someone who can. She may need help with transportation and childcare, and may have no money.

Give her the time she needs to make her own decisions. If she is not ready to make major changes in her life, do not take away your support.