my friend's partner has a drinking problem.
Could that be the cause of the
Although alcohol or drug use may intensify an already existing violent
behaviour, it does not cause it. People who abuse typically make
excuses for their violence, claiming a loss of control due to
alcohol/drug use or extreme stress. Domestic violence, however,
does not represent a loss of control, but a way of achieving it.
How can my friend still care for someone who abuses
Chances are, her partner is not always abusive. The
abuser may actually show remorse for his violence, promising that he
will change. your friend understandably hopes for such
change. Their relationship probably involves a cycle of good
times, bad-times and in-between times. However, the longer the
violent relationship continues, the less likely there will be any good
times at all.
Lately my friend has been distant. I don't know if
we're still friends.
The abuser senses
that the fewer relationships his partner has, the more easily he
can control her. He may be extremely jealous of any relationships his
partner has outside the
home. An abused woman may distance herself from friends fearing
that they will discover the violence and blame her for it.
If my friend
wanted my help, she would ask for it.
Your friend may not yet eel comfortable confiding in others,
feeling that they will not understand her situation. Try talking
to her about the problem of domestic violence in a general way.
For example, you might mention a documentary or talk show about domestic
violence that you've seen. Tell your friend you are concerned
about people who must endure abuse in relationships. Let your
friend know you do not blame victims for the violence.
YOU Can Do
Gather all the information you can about domestic
violence. Contact Women's Aid
and services in your area that assist abused women and their children. Women's
Aid Refuges not only offer women safety, but also provide advice, support
and other needed services for abused women. Woman's Aid can give you
information about the issue of domestic violence and referrals to
Sometimes your own feelings about the violence may make it difficult
for you to confront the
situation. Contact your local Women's Aid for help and talk to staff about
your concerns. Women's Aid can be an excellent source of support for both
you and your friend.
a Sympathetic Ear
Letting your friend know that you care and are willing to
listen may be the best help you can offer. Don't force the issue, but
allow her to confide in you at her own pace. Keep your mind open and really
listen to what she tells you. Never blame your friend for what's
happening or underestimate her fear of potential danger.
Remember that your friend must make her own decisions
about her life. Focus on
supporting your friend' s right to make her own choices.
Your Friend With the Danger
At some point, you may find it difficult to be supportive
of your friend if she remains
in the violent relationship or returns to the abuser. Tell her that not everyone
lives with abuse. Be willing to confront her with the physical and emotional
harm that she and the children will suffer if she stays. Help your
friend face up to the
dangerous reality of living with an abusive partner. Remind her that
even a push or a shove can result in serious injury.
her to Community Services
When your friend asks for advice on what she should do,
share the information you've gathered with her privately. Let your
friend know she is not alone and that caring people are available to
help her. Encourage her to seek the assistance of Women's Aid or the
domestic violence Helpline. Assure your friend that any information
she shares with them will be kept strictly confidential.
women first seek the advice of marriage counselors, psychiatrists, or
members of the clergy. Not all helping professionals, however, are fully
aware of the special circumstances of abused women. If the first person
your friend contacts is not helpful, she should be encouraged to find
Your Friend Develop a Safety Plan
Encourage your friend to develop a plan to protect herself and
her children. Help her think through the steps she should take if her partner become
abusive again. Make a list
of people your friend can call in an emergency.
Suggest that she put together and hide a bag of clothing,
personal items, money, social
security books, bank cards, the children' s birth certificates and other important
Of Her Strengths
Abused women live with emotional as well as physical
abuse. Your friend is probably continually told by the abuser that she
is a bad person, a bad wife, and a bad mother. Without positive
reinforcement from outside the home, she may beg into believe she can't
do anything right -that there really is something wrong with her.
Give your friend the emotional support she needs to
believe that she is a good person. Help her examine her strengths and
skills. Emphasize that she deserves a life that is free from violence.
She Decides to leave
The first place your friend should call is the local
Women's Aid Group or Help line.
Staff at the Women's Refuge can help your friend examine the options. If
she decides to leave, the refuge may be the safest place she can go.
Women's Aid refuges provides
emergency accommodation and support to women who need
to leave an abusive home. The refuge, which is accessible 24 hours a
day, is located at a
confidential address. W omen and their children who have been abused
or threatened with abuse may stay for as long as necessary. Staff work one-to-one
with each resident to discuss options and to provide support in dealing with
financial, employment, housing, legal and emotional problems. Self-help
also operates within the
group of women who reside at the refuge.
careful when offering and providing safety in your home. The abused woman
frequently faces the most physical danger when she attempts to leave. Be very discreet and talk to Women' said staff about the best way to handle this.
a friend in deed
Tell your friend you're there for her when she needs you.
Provide whatever you can : transportation; child care; financial
When to Intervene
It cannot be over emphasized that domestic violence is a
crime that can result in
serious physical injury and even death. If you are a neighbour or
otherwise know that violence
is occurring, call the police immediately. Calling the police does not always mean the
abuser will be put in jail. It is simply the most effective way
to protect the victim and her children from immediate harm.
to Contact Your Local Women's Aid Group
Women' s Aid can offer emergency accommodation for women
Women' s Aid also offers a 24 hour
Helpline to women involved in an abusive relationship.
All conversations are confidential and callers do not have to give their names
or identifying information.
find your nearest Women's Aid group click here
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