9.7Susan M. Hais

Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), in Missouri “34,841 adults, youth and children received domestic violence services in 2014.” With a significant number of our population affected by domestic violence, divorce attorneys at Hais, Hais and Goldberger, P.C. are here to help survivors achieve justice and feel safe once again.

If you know someone who has experienced domestic violence, there are many ways you can also support them on their journey. Here are five tips to support domestic violence survivors your life:

  1. Believe their stories. Many perpetrators are charismatic individuals who are well-liked by people they know. It can be difficult to believe these individuals are capable of violence. One of the most important things you can do for survivors is believe they are telling the truth.
  2. Don’t dig for details. You may feel the desire to know more about the situation. Curiosity is normal. However, digging for details can re-traumatize the survivors. When they are comfortable speaking about what they experienced, they will do so. Until then, avoid giving them the third degree over what happened, why they stayed, etc.
  3. Offer support. Support takes many forms. It may be a shoulder to cry on, a babysitter for a court date, a taxi ride to counseling, or more. If you are able to offer support in any way, let the survivor know you are available. Don’t place stipulations on your support, and be specific about what you can provide.
  4. Empower the survivor. In a domestic violence situation, survivors have lost all power of their lives. They have been harmed significantly in many ways, and part of freeing themselves from the situation is regaining personal power. Do not pressure survivors to act in a certain way or seek out specific resources. They need to make their own decisions on what is right for them, even if you don’t agree with the decision. Survivors need to regain their autonomy as part of the healing process.
  5. Speak out. You are an advocate and can be a voice in the community speaking out against domestic violence. Attend events supporting survivors, hold abusers accountable for their actions, donate to programs helping survivors, challenge myths that blame the victim, and raise awareness about the issue affects your community

Contact us today to learn more about our work with domestic violence survivors.