It can be difficult to see your friend, family member, or colleague being treated abusively in a relationship. Your first instinct might be to take action and help them immediately.
It is important to remember that the person may not be ready to take immediate action or it may not be safe for them to do so. They may have care of children or pets to consider or may not be emotionally ready to identify their experience as family violence. Whatever the reason, it is important to start a conversation, listen to them, and remember that they are the expert in their own story.
Another Closet provides some good suggestions to get started:
- listening to what they tell you without judging them;
- believing what they tell you. Remember most people downplay the abuse they are experiencing so it may be worse than they are describing;
- acknowledging their fear and taking their concerns seriously;
- letting them know the abuse is not their fault, they don’t deserve it and that they don’t have to put up with it;
- asking them what you can do to help them; and
- making sure you help them at their pace, not yours. It can be easy to rush in and tell your friend what they should do, this is generally not helpful
Visist http://www.anothercloset.com.au/emotional-practical-support (hyperlink)
You help them develop a safety plan. A safety plan is a way to plan how your friend can be safe while they make decisions about their next steps.
You can contact WithRespect as a friend to ask for support and advice on what to include in a safety plan.
If your friend, children or family members are in immediate danger call 000.
How will With Respect help?
With Respect’s integrated service model offers case management and counselling services for LGBTIQ people experiencing violence. This could be for people who are using violence against partners or family members, so they can work out how to change their behaviour and take responsibility for it; and it could be for people who are victims of abuse and violence, so they can work out how to make their lives safer and work towards recovery.
With Respect offers thorough assessment to both perpetrators and victim survivors while maintaining strong focus on safety and managing risks.
Service providers seeking to make referrals or support clients from LGBTIQ communities are encouraged to phone With Respect 1800 542 847.
Together we can create a safe community where all LGBTIQ people and our families can access family violence services when they need them.