According to the CDC, nearly 24 people per minute are victims of a form of domestic violence. Strong advocates against domestic violence, St. Luke’s Health offers programs to help our community recognize and prevent violence and has eliminated negative influences from our environment. Take a moment to learn the facts and what you can do to help.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can take many forms, but it involves using threats and intimidation or violent behaviors to gain power and control over another person. In addition to intimate partner violence, it can also include child abuse, elder abuse, and sibling abuse. Domestic violence can occur in various ways:
If you know or suspect someone you care about is a victim of domestic violence, here’s what you can do to help:
Listen and show support. Let victims know the abuse is not their fault. Reassure them they are not alone and that you are available to help whenever needed. It may be difficult for them to talk about the situation; what they need most is someone who will listen and believe.
Be nonjudgmental. There are many reasons victims may choose to stay in an abusive relationship. They may leave and return to the relationship repeatedly. Do not try to shame them if this occurs. They will need your support in those times more than ever.
Continue to support them after the relationship ends. Although the relationship was abusive, your loved one may feel lonely or sad once it ends. Allow the victim to mourn the loss of the relationship, and show support during this time.
Encourage them to participate in activities with friends and family outside the relationship. If victims have agency outside of the abusive relationship, they are more likely to be able to take the steps to get to safety. Having a support network of friends and family is important.
Encourage them to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find counseling or a support group for domestic violence. Offer to go with them, as well as to the police, court, or lawyer’s office when necessary.
Remember you can’t “rescue” them. It’s difficult to see people you care about get hurt, but remember they are ultimately the one who has to make the decisions. Support them no matter what they decide, and help them on their journey to safety and peace.
If you or someone you know suffers injuries from domestic violence, you can seek help at your closest St. Luke’s Health community emergency center. Our doctors and staff can help with your immediate needs and also recommend domestic abuse counselors. Call 1-800-799-SAFE to speak to a representative from the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.