Hope For The Journey

Tips On Supporting
A Victim Of
Domestic Violence

Do you have a loved one or someone you know who is suffering in a domestic violent relationship? Do you feel helpless on how to support them? I recognize how difficult this may be and know the challenges individuals like you face.

Sometimes trying to figure out all the right things to do or say to someone in a domestic violence situation can feel tricky. It can cause a great amount of unwanted stress and other uncomfortable feelings. You may be feeling conflicted on how to approach them because you don’t want them to feel judged. This is a very common fear and concern to have due to the nature of it being a difficult territory to navigate. You want to be supportive and for them to feel safe. Yet with such a difficult circumstance you feel uncertain on how to move forward.

It’s hard to hear the vivid stories of how our loved ones are being harmed. So what can you do? As a clinician that specializes in helping those who suffer from domestic violence, I am here to help guide you.

Myths About Domestic Violence


First things first, let’s address the myths of domestic violence. This may include things such as:

  • Domestic violence only occurs in lower socio-economic households.
  • Domestic violence only happens to women.
  • Victims of domestic violence are uneducated.
  • Domestic violence is usually a one-time or isolated incident.

In reality, these myths are false.

  • Domestic violence occurs in all socio-economic groups.
  • Domestic violence may occur in their household, relationship, or they may know of someone they are close to that is in a violent relationship.
  • Regardless of someone’s gender, domestic violence does not discriminate when it comes to gender.
  • Men do not report the violence they experience in a relationship, due to feeling that they will be judged by their peers and not supported.
  • The education level of an individual is not a deterrent for domestic violence.
  • Anyone can experience domestic violence regardless of the education level someone has achieved.
  • Domestic violence is a pattern of violent and abusive behavior that happens repeatedly and escalates in severity and becomes dangerous over time.
  • Factors That Keep Someone In A Domestic Violence Relationship

There are countless factors that can play a role in someone staying in an unsafe and violent relationship. The power and control that the abusive partner exhibits over the victim may be one of the following:

  • Intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Using the children 
  • Minimizing/denying/blaming
  • Using economic abuse
  • Coercion and threats 

These power and control tactics generate the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, which puts someone in a very vulnerable place to be manipulated and controlled. For example, a victim of domestic violence may have the following experiences:

  • Feelings of hopelessness for their future or getting out of the relationship.
  • Belief systems that there is no resources available.
  • Having a child and/or children with the abuser making it increasingly difficult to leave because of cultural or religious views on divorce or separation.
  • Lack of income.
  • Shortage of availability at domestic violence shelters and additional resources.
  • Fear of safety from having to relocate frequently to avoid the abusive partner from retaliating.

3 Tips to Support Someone You Know in a Domestic Violence Relationship


Domestic Violence Support Tip #1: Provide Non-Judgmental Support 


Non-judgmental support may consist of listening, offering support, providing resources, safety planning, and respecting their choices. When listening to someone who is in a domestic violence relationship, it may be useful to share that you care about them. That you are fearful for their safety and allow them the space to speak to you openly. Offering support can consist of you letting them know that they are not alone, that no one deserves to be hurt, and what they are feeling is okay. You may also want to ask them directly how you can best support them, that way you do not make any assumptions and unintentionally cause harm.

Domestic Violence Support Tip #2: Identify Community Resources & Provide Encouragement 

You may want to encourage them to reach out to community resources when they are in a safe space away from the abusive partner, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline, crisis hotlines such as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, support groups, shelters, or anything else they express is of importance to them. Safety planning with them for when they are home, such as staying in a room that has a phone, door, and window to escape if they are trying to get away from the abusive partner’s violence. You may encourage them to write down important phone numbers and have them hidden in a place that the abusive partner does not check, just in case they need to get in contact with someone or resources.

Domestic Violence Support Tip #3: Build A Solid Safety Plan

It may be helpful to encourage them to have a go bag with money, keys, copies of important documents, clothes and leave the bag with someone they trust, just in case they need to leave quickly. If they have children, it may be practical to tell the school and teachers who can pick up their child or children. Additionally, having a discussion with the child or children about who they should tell if they see the abusive partner could also be helpful, so that the children can respond accordingly. It is useful for them to let friends and family know that they are leaving and that it may be possible that the abusive partner may be searching for them. Similarly, it may be handy to make up a safety plan for when leaving work or school and have someone walk them to their car, as well as take different paths when heading back to their home.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the person in the abusive relationship. It is important that you respect their decision because they are the ones who know their situation best. They will have to live with the results of their decision. Do not put pressure on them to leave, due to it never being as simple as just leaving. Most importantly, do not be judgmental or make them feel bad for staying in the abusive relationship and reassure them that you will be there for them no matter what decision they make, because you are there to be a support and not to be a savior. 

The biggest takeaways I would like for you to take from this discussion are:

  • Domestic violence is extremely complex
  • Can have a deep impact on the people involved and supports 
  • Being respectful of others decisions 

Being a support person is hard work, so please be kind to yourself.

Are you or a loved one needing additional support?

Our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you. If you need counseling to validate your experiences, build confidence, learn to set healthy boundaries, and learn effective coping skills, we are ready to hear from you today. You deserve to feel hope again and prioritize yourself. To start therapy with Hope For the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Hope for the Journey
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Start receiving the support you and your teen deserve.

Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

Our team is happy to offer a number of services from our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depression, domestic violence, sexual assault, PTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adults, children and tweens, couples, men, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement.

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