Dom Violence Advocating for victims of domestic violence (dv)

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anthony

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A person who is in an abusive relationship is often in a life-threatening situation. Knowing how to effectively assist and advocate for victims of domestic violence and abuse is a worthy skill.

If you have a friend or neighbor who is in an abusive relationship, or work with an agency who serves clients who may be victims of abuse, you’ll want to be able to assist these individuals in the most effective way possible. Being a competent advocate means that you know and implement steps and strategies to keep victims of domestic violence emotionally and physically safe.

When dealing with a victim of domestic violence, first determine if she is safe. If she is in immediate danger, call your country emergency phone number. If she is currently safe, but still living with the abuser, or he knows where she is at, you can help her plan for her immediate and future safety.

Refer her to a local shelter, help her make plans to stay with a friend or relative who is off the abuser’s radar, or in extreme situations, assist her in relocating to a new city. A woman who is not ready to leave the situation should be urged to keep a bag packed that contains a change of clothes, toiletries, money and important papers. It is also a good idea for her to purchase a cell phone to keep tucked away for emergencies in the event that the abuser cuts off her means of communication.

Talk to the abuse victim in private, and assure her that the conversation is confidential. A domestic violence organization points out that domestic violence victims rarely discuss abuse when the abuser is present, and that if she does so, she is likely to suffer retaliation.

Emphasize that she still has control over the decisions that she makes in her life. An abuse victim may feel that her life has spiraled out of control, and that what control she has left rests in the hands of the abuser. Encourage her to take an active problem-solving role and resist the urge to step in and be the rescuer.

Get to know the services that are available to victims of domestic violence in your community. One of the most frightening aspects of leaving an abusive relationship is often the financial stress that results from a move and the possible loss of an income. Give her a list of shelters, food banks, legal assistance agencies and related services to help her get back on her feet. If you frequently encounter people who are potential victims of domestic violence, consider having some cards printed up that provide a list of local assistance agencies and their numbers.

Not every intervention with a victim of domestic violence will be productive. Some people prefer to face the reality of a violent relationship rather than confront a world that feels unknown to them and in which they may not believe they have the skills to provide. Often, leaving a violent relationship is done in small steps. Keep in mind that your outreach is one of those steps and continue to advocate for safety and justice for these victims.
 
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