Abuse and neglect

If someone needs your support

If you know or think someone is a victim of, you should be aware that they will be feeling a wide range of emotions. Often they will feel very scared for themselves, their children and their future. Victims will also often think they are partly at fault, they may still love their partner and hope for a return to the days when everything was great and of course, often a victim of abuse will feel embarrassed or ashamed.

These are all natural feelings and it is important to listen to what someone is telling you. You should ask direct questions such as “I am worried about you because …” but remember that it might take a long time before they’re strong enough to be open with you.

Once you are having conversations make sure that you:

  • Listen – don’t offer your opinion about what they should.
  • Don’t tell them to leave or judge – leaving is a massive decision, with lots of problems such as where to go, money, pets, school/work and possessions. It is important that you realise that at the point of separation or just after leaving the victim is most at risk
  • Tell them they’re coping really well – build their self confidence up.
  • Think about any children that are involved – if they are not safe you need to call Children’s Services on 01472 326292, option 2.
  • Understanding – explain that they are not alone and that there are many people in the same situation.
  • Supportive – tell them that no-one deserves to be threatened, controlled or hit, despite what the abuser may have said. Explain that it is not their fault in any way, the abuser should take responsibility for their behaviour.
  • Always let them make their own decisions – If they’re ready to leave a relationship, this is their decision. If someone is in current or immediate danger you could suggest that they speak to the police or Women’s Aid.
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm – Offer to go to hospital with them if it’s necessary and help them report the assault to the police if they want to.
  • Give them information about the help that is available – see the list of related support agencies in each type of abuse.
  • Encourage your them to work out a safety plan – let them decide what is safe and what is not. Don’t encourage them to do anything that they’re not sure about. You could offer to keep things like important documents, spare set of keys, cash and clothes at your house
  • Above all look after yourself – whilst supporting someone do not put yourself in danger.