What you can do:
- Find out more about the issue of intimate partner violence, the different forms of abuse, and the warning signs that somebody is a victim of IPV.
- Find out about the services and supports in your area such as a transition house, a domestic violence outreach program, health and mental health services, and legal services. Your ability to give support may depend on your knowledge.
- Ask about the abuse in private, never in front of others, especially a partner or children.
- Reach out and let them know you are willing to listen. Offer what help you feel comfortable giving. Never be judgmental.
- If you think a child is being mistreated, you have a legal duty to report it to Child Protection at 1-888-992-2873 (ABUSE) or at the emergency after-hours number, 1-800-442-9799.
- Ask what they need to be safe.
- Give them the transition house telephone number so they can call (anonymously if they wish) for support. Their immediate safety is the most important concern.
- Ask if there are firearms in the home and if they know where they are kept.
- Ask if they are concerned about the welfare of pets/animals.
- If you are not in a position to provide support, know where the victim can turn for help.
- Don’t get discouraged if the victim leaves and later returns to the abuser. No matter what they decide to do—or not do—about the abuse, it is important to continue to be supportive.
- If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with the issue of abuse, try to understand why. Examine your own experiences, values and attitudes. Do you see the abuse as normal or do you minimize its effect? You may need support for your own experiences of abuse.
- Document the abuse or your concerns thoroughly.
Always keep yourself safe. Don’t get in the middle of an assault. Call the police in an emergency.