Respond To Domestic Violence
40 WAYS YOU CAN RESPOND TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
If you know someone who is being battered:
· Believe her, and keep what she tells you confidential.
· Let her know she is not to blame for the abuse; she is not responsible for it and does not deserve it.
· Take the time to talk her privately and ask about suspicious bruises or fights that you know about. She needs to tell her story in her own time and at her own pace.
· Help her make safety plans for herself and her children. It could save their lives.
· Validate her feelings; she may feel hurt, angry, afraid ashamed or trapped. She may love the abuser.
· If you suspect that abuse is occurring, call 911. Assault is a crime.
· Make strong statements against violence in your social circles and in support of victims building violence-free, autonomous lives.
· Give her information about local resources; the Portland Women’s Crisis Line phone number is 235-5333; the Portland Police Domestic Violence Reduction Unit number is 823-0361.
· Offer to assist her in keeping safe by letting her stay with you, if possible, or keeping documents, money, a packed suitcase for her, or identifying a code word that she can use to signal the need to call the police on her behalf.
· If appropriate, talk to her children about what they are seeing and feeling. Help them make plans to be safe.
If you know someone who is battering:
· If you are violent, stop the violence immediately, and seek assistance.
· Interrupt verbal harassment, and if it is safe to do so, acts of violence that you see happening.
· Call the police, if it is unsafe for to intervene. It may save someone’s life.
· Let batterers know that domestic violence is a crime and that they could be prosecuted and sent to jail.
· If a perpetrator is justifying violence or harassment because of something the victim did, point out that the perpetrator is the only one who is responsible for violent acts. Don’t let perpetrators get away with victim-blaming, minimizing or trivializing their violence.
· If you don’t like it when someone makes jokes about women or about battering, let the person telling the joke know it and why.
· Talk to perpetrators you know about the violence they are doing, but do not disclose information given to you by a victim, unless you have their permission. Let perpetrators know that violence is not acceptable and that they can choose to stop it.
· Support strong law enforcement intervention in cases of domestic violence. Don’t defend batterer to police, prosecutors or judges. Act as a witness to a crime.
· If you are an employer, assist police, sheriff or other law enforcement officers to serve orders of protection, subpoenas, or other documents.
· Do not ostracize the victim nor “side” with the perpetrator.
· Make strong statements against violence in your social circles. Advocate for full accountability by
perpetrators, and for full restitution for victims.
For Starters--Help support shelters and programs for survivors and their children:
· Regular, consistent financial donations.
· Food donations.
· Donations of equipment, gifts, clothing, furniture, blankets, computers, etc.
· Volunteer to assist shelter programs with answering crisis lines, working with survivors, raising funds, training/ mentoring for survivors.
· Volunteer to work during renovation, clean-up, mailings.
· Write letters to City, County, State and National elected officials encouraging them to support funding for intervention in domestic violence and survivor services.
· Write letters to the editor supporting services for survivors.
Projects for individuals, groups or teams:
· Adopt-an-agency for a year: Provide donations of all kinds; put on a fund-raising event; bring a group of friends/ work associates together to form a work party for an agency.
· Assist in providing meals or a celebration for those residing in a shelter or transitional housing, including children’s birthday parties, holiday dinners, summer picnics .
· Prepare starter kits for survivors—ask a shelter for exact contents of kit: Household kits (pots, pans, utensils kitchen towels, broom, clock, etc.); Personal hygiene kits (soap, shampoo, bath towel, wash cloth, comb, toothbrush and paste); Bedding kits (sheets, pillows, blankets, bedspread); Children’s kits (crayons or art supplies, pajamas, stuffed animal, toothbrush and Winter kits (mittens or gloves, umbrella, hat, raincoat or warm coat).
· Provide blankets or make quilts for shelter residents.
· Share your skills through mentoring, tutoring, presenting workshops on parenting, computer use, employment, literacy/ GED readiness or job skills.
· Advocacy, including writing letters, making phone calls to elected officials or funders for additional funding for shelter programs, finances for affordable housing, jobs, financial assistance, access to medical care.
· Invite shelter representatives to speak to organizations you belong to.
· Attend community forums, workshops or training on domestic violence.
· Advocate for school-based prevention programs, such as No Punchin’ Judy or Chance for Change and for assistance to children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs.
· Make sure schools and other officials take dating violence seriously.
· Advocate for appropriate services for underserved populations, such as those who speak Spanish or other non-English languages, are gang-affiliated or –affected or are disabled.
· Work against sexism, racism and homophobia.