Keep trying: “The fear of harm may stop her from disclosing it straight away, so be patient,” said VOCAL’s Kerrie Thompson. Picture: Max Mason-HubersFRIENDS, neighbours and colleagues of women suspected to be inabusive relationships have been encouraged to forget about minding their own business and “break the silence” instead.
Victims of Crime Assistance League senior victims support specialist Kerrie Thompson said people who knew awoman subjected to violence often felt unsure about intervening and confused about what to say.
“But it’s really important to have the conversation that you’re concerned about them,” Ms Thompson said.
“It’s about breaking the silence.That conversation might just be the thing she needs to hear to see that someone else has recognised what’s been happening and that there is someone she can trust who will help.
“Saying‘I’m worried about you, are you OK?’ is a good place to start,to show that you’re concerned about her and the situation you believe she’s in.”At the same time,Ms Thompson said, those broaching the topic needed to be prepared for the woman to either not know how to respond, or to become defensive, and to not take herreactionpersonally.
“You might be the first person who has asked her about the abuse and she may be oppressed,” she said.
“She may have been threatened with harm to her, her children, her family or pets if she speaks out.
“Keep checking in with her, saying ‘How are you going? I’m here for you’ and let her know that when she’s ready to talk in the future you’re there to help.
“But most importantly, when you do have that conversation, listen to her without judgement and help her know it’s not her fault.”
Ms Thompson said many women had been subjected to a complicated pattern of violent behaviour they couldn’t make sense of and were often “scratching their heads” about whether acting differently could have prevented the abuse.
She said peoplecould give the woman telephone numbers for theNational Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service (1800 RESPECT) andDomestic Violence Line (1800 656 463).
They can alsocontact VOCAL for brochures about specialised services applicable to the woman’ssituation, including housing and financial support. VisitHunter Stadium on September 3 to stand up against violence.Register:mycause南京夜网419论坛/events/1000people1voice
Staying safe before leavingIT could be as simple as a woman parking on the street instead of in the driveway,so she can not be blocked from leaving.
VOCAL’s Kerrie Thompsonrecommended any woman who feared for her and her children’s immediate well-being to call Triple Zero and leavestraight away.
But she said any woman considering leaving could create their own “safety plan” now, providing it doesn’t raise alarm bells and put them at risk.
She said a woman couldleave her handbag in a quick-to-reach spot; send copies ofimportant documents to a friend; and forwardabusive texts or emails elsewherein case their phone was damaged.
Eastlakes Family Support Service’s Roz Smee suggested havinga“safe word” and sending it via text to a friendif they needed them to call Triple Zero; hiding spare car keys and setting up a secret bank account if possible.
“But trust your gut instinct –if you don’t feel comfortable, if things are going to escalate and not going to end well, get out of that house,” Ms Thompson said.
If possible, women should have a neighbour,family member or safe space where they could go anytime.