Women often don’t report or disclose domestic abuse to the police and many underreport it in surveys. But domestic abuse is very common. Given that 1 in 3 women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, whether we realise it or not, we probably all know a survivor and the first person they disclose it to is usually are friend or family member.
Perhaps she avoids talking about her partner, seems to be losing confidence in herself, and has become increasingly distant. Or perhaps she mentioned something that he did or said. Your alarm bells are ringing, and your red flag radar and your gut are telling you something is off… If you think someone you know is experiencing abuse behind closed doors, you might feel helpless, but there are ways you can support her.
- Create a safe, private space to check in with her and let her know you’ve noticed something’s wrong
- Give her time to talk, but don’t push her to if she isn’t ready
- When she opens up, listen, trust her, take her seriously and don’t judge her
- Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
- Acknowledge she is in a frightening and difficult situation
- Reassure her that it’s not her fault, no matter what her abuser has said
- Remind her that she is not alone and that there are solutions but allow her to make her own decisions
- Don’t pressure her to leave the relationship if she’s not ready – that’s her decision, but offer to help her prepare an emergency bag
- If she’s local, encourage her to contact us when she feels ready, on 01795 417251