How to help a friend in need!
Do not tell them what to do!
Just listen, without giving your opinions!
Do not tell them about your own problems!
Do not tell them what you would do!
What should you do if you suspect it is happening to a friend?
It may be hard to know what to do or say as your friend might not want to talk about it, but let them know you've noticed something’s wrong. Encourage them to talk. If they don't want to, wait and keep trying to find another quiet time to raise the subject. When you get them to open up, here are some basic guidelines on how you can assist and give support:
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Be informed.
The first step you can take to help your friend is to learn more about Domestic Abuse. By reading this, you have taken the first step. Lack of understanding can be one of the greatest barriers that people face in their efforts to end violence in their lives. People face a lot of myths when trying to access help.
Letting your friend know you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer. Really listen to what they tell you, keep your mind open. Never blame your friend for what's happening. Believe and support them. Give them time to talk, but don't force them to go into detail. Encourage them to express their feelings, whatever they are. Acknowledge that they are in a frightening, dangerous and very difficult situation. Don't try and fix the problem. Don't compare your relationship to theirs.
3. Guide them to support.
Share the information you have gathered with them privately. Let them know they are not alone. Tell them that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser has told them. Nothing they can do or say can justify the abusers behavior. Do not abandon them if they do not take your 'advice'. It is their life.
Encourage them to seek the assistance of Drogheda Woman's & Children's Refuge 24 hour help line - 041 984 4550
4. Focus on their strengths.
Abused people live with emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. The abuser probably tells your friend that they are a bad person/mother/father etc. Give your friend the emotional support they need to believe they are a good person. Help them to examine their strengths and skills.
5. If they decide to leave.
The first place your friend could call is Drogheda Women's & Children's Refuge 041-9844550. Staff at the services can help your friend explore their options. If they decide to leave, the refuge may be the safest place that they can go. A woman and/or her children may stay as long as it is necessary. Men can be referred to a Men's hostel. Staff work on a one-to-one basis with each person to discuss options and to provide support in dealing with financial, housing, legal and emotional issues.
Drogheda Women & Children's Refuge can be contacted anytime on our 24 hour help line
- 041 984 4550
WHEN TO INTERVENE.
If you know that violence is occurring, call the Gardaí immediately. Tel: 999 Calling the Gardaí does not always mean the abuser will be put in jail. It is simply the most effective way to protect the person and their children from immediate harm.