How can you help?

It can be difficult to realise that someone you know is using family or domestic violence against their partner or family member.

If someone is in immediate danger, call 000 immediately.

Safety should always be the priority – for you and for the family of the person using violence. Be cautious not to put yourself or the person you suspect is being harmed in further danger.

Have a conversation

Set out below are some steps you may want to take to have a conversation with someone you know who may be using violence:

  1. Do not intervene directly
    • If you are witnessing domestic or family violence, do not intervene while the violence is happening as it may prolong the violence, or make it worse for the person experiencing the violence. Further, if you intervene, the violence may be directed at you. If someone is in immediate danger, call 000 immediately.
  2. Talk to them
    • Talk to the person using violence one-on-one, when they are calm
    • Encourage them to acknowledge the abuse and that it needs to stop
    • Focus on the impact it has on their partner and children
    • Let them know that you are there to help, and that you care about them
    • Do not focus on why the person is abusive, or discuss excusing it
    • Focus on how they can improve in the future
    • Focus on their behaviour and actions, and how they could handle conflict in a non-abusive manner
  3. Let them know about services that are available to help them change their behaviour:
    • Look through the DVassist online services directory for local, state, and national services for counselling and support. There are also specific services available for women, men and young people
    • Encourage the person using violence to call:
  1. Offer practical and emotional support
    • Offer to drive them to, or attend, counselling sessions and/or behaviour change programs
    • Offer to make time to talk with them, meet up with them or go for a drive so they can talk through their issues
    • Let them know you are there to talk about it when they are ready

What do I do if they won’t listen or seek help?

  • Do not try to force them to change or seek help
  • Do not become argumentative or judgmental; this may put their family at higher risk of abuse
  • Keep lines of communication open in case they want to later seek support
  • If someone is in imminent danger, call 000

 

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