A bright Monday morning saw a room full of people gather to learn about how to support a friend or family member affected by abuse. It’s part of our efforts to make sure that Thanet and Dover communities are equipped to respond to domestic abuse, no matter who someone turns to. Developing a community of friends, family and professionals that are able .
We decided that there were three main principals to remember
1. Don’t judge – Telling someone that your relationship may be abusive is a massive step. Let your friend or family member know that they are not to blame, what is happening is not their fault and that you will be there to support them, no matter what they choose to do.
2. Offer practical support – In an abusive relationship you’re not able to make your own choices, it’s important that your friend is free to make the choices about what to do next. Don’t offer conditional support (if you leave them I will..../if you go back I can’t...), but let them know that you can be a practical support by offering to babysit, attend appointments like the One Stop Shop with them, keep some of their things safe at your house etc. But remember - it’s their choice, at their pace.
3. Don’t confront the other person – doing this can put you and your friend in a difficult or dangerous position. You need to make sure you are available to help, if you are perceived as a danger to the relationship your friend or family member will become more isolated and getting help will be harder.
Always remember that you can contact Oasis or visit your local one stop shop for advice. There are experts available who can support you to support other people.