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The first step you can take to help your friend is to learn more about Domestic Abuse/Coercive Control. By visiting our website, you have taken the first step. Gaining knowledge and understanding of Domestic Abuse/Coercive Control can help in supporting someone you know. Familiarise yourself with the types of abuse and how they present, with local supports available and with the barriers she may face.
Letting her know you care and are willing to listen may be the best help you can offer. Really listen to what she tells you and keep your mind open. Never blame her 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. Let her know that if you’re there to listen any time she is willing to speak up about her experiences.
Share the information you have gathered with her privately. Let her know she is not alone. Tell her that no one deserves to be abused. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour. Remind her that there are people like you who are willing to listen and help. Allow her to make her own decisions.
Encourage her to seek the assistance of Women’s Aid Dundalk on our 24-hour helpline – 042 9333244.
Women who have experienced abuse may live with both emotional abuse and physical abuse. The abuser probably tells your friend that she is a bad person/mother etc. Give herthe emotional support she needs to believe in herself. Help her to examine her strengths and skills.
They could call is Women’s Aid Dundalk. Experienced staff can help her 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 if 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 issues, housing, legal and emotional issues. Understand that just because you offer support, your friend may not leave their abusive partner straight away. Leaving is a process that for some can be decided upon quickly, while others take some time.
Safety is a priority and women do what they can to keep themselves and their children safe. Sometimes there may be a need to contact the Gardaí. Calling the Gardaí does not always mean the abuser will be put in arrested. It is simply the most effective way to protect the women and her children from immediate harm.