Escape
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A victim of domestic violence may be hesitant to talk about their situation for many reasons.  They may blame themselves, be afraid that disclosure will bring on further violence, minimize the violence for fear of losing their partner, be ashamed to admit that this is happening to them, or just think that no one cares.  Here are some ways of speaking to victims of abuse.

DO

  • LET THEM KNOW IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT!
  • ask questions that will help them recognize what has happened to them and to identify it as abuse.
  • help them to recognize the excuses and understand that their words and actions do not justify violence.
  • assure them of confidentiality and ask permission to tell someone (authorities).  Suggest a hotline (Domestic Violence Services 24-hour hotline 845-485-5550).
  • support their courage in asking for help.  Help them see the risks of remaining in the relationship.

DON’T

  • ASSUME THAT THEY WANT TO LEAVE OR PRESSURE THEM INTO LEAVING!
  • further victimize them by not listening or implying that they are foolish for staying in the relationship.
  • tell them ways to not provoke their partner.  This promotes feelings of self-blame.
  • speak to the two of them together.  This will make the victim more fearful of opening up.
  • speak to their partner without their permission.  You may be jeopardizing their safety and yours.
  • make them feel “controlled” by your desire for them to leave.  This decision should be made on their own.