What Can You Do?
1. Be informed.
The first step you can take to help your friend is to learn more about Domestic Violence. By reading this, you have taken the first step. Lack of understanding can be one of the greatest barriers that women face in their efforts to end violence in their lives. Women 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 she tells you, keep your mind open. Never blame your friend for what’s happening. Believe and support her. Give her time to talk, but don’t force her to go into detail. Encourage her to express her feelings, whatever they are. Acknowledge that she’s in a frightening, dangerous and very difficult situation.
3. Guide her to support.
Share the information you have gathered with her privately. Let her know she is not alone. Tell her that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abusers behavior.
Encourage her to seek the assistance of Women’s Aid Dundalk on our 24 hour helpline – 042 9333244.
4. Focus on her strengths.
Abused women live with emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. The abuser probably tells your friend that she is a bad person/mother etc. Give your friend the emotional support she needs to believe she is a good person. Help her to examine her strengths and skills.
5. If she decides to leave.
The first place your friend could call is Women’s Aid Dundalk. Staff at the services can help your friend explore her options. If she decides to leave, the refuge may be the safest place that she can go. A woman and her children may stay as long as it is necessary. Staff work on a one-to-one basis with each woman to discuss options and to provide support in dealing with financial housing, legal and emotional issues.
Women’s Aid Dundalk can be contacted anytime on our 24 hour helpline which is 042 9333244.
When to intervene.
If you know that violence is occurring, call the Gardaí immediately. Calling the Gardaí does not always mean the abuser will be put in jail.
It is simply the most effective way to protect the women and her children from immediate harm.