Supporting a survivor of domestic violence can be daunting especially when it is someone close to you and you are worried about saying or doing "the wrong thing." You don't have to be an expert to support someone but there are some really simple things you can do that will help.
Listen and Believe
- Listen. If someone discloses an experience of domestic violence to you, listening to what they tell with no judgment, compassion and empathy can be incredibly helpful. Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help.
- Believe. Rather than asking a lot of questions, just let them know that you believe them and will support them as best as you can. Try not to skip ahead to what to do practically without first validating what you have heard and listening to what they have to say.
- Reassure. Remind them that no one, regardless of relationship or status, has the right to hurt them and that no matter what, it is not their fault that this occurred.
- Give Options. Somebody who has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence may feel they have had power and control taken away from them. This means the most important thing is to respond in a way that increases their choice over what happens next. You can simply ask them what they need or want. They might not make the same decision you would; however, only they can decide what is best for them. You can help them explore options but avoid telling them what they should do.
Signpost to Specialist Services
There is lots of specialist support available both within the University and externally that your friend or loved one can access for support.
- Speak to advisor. A specialist advisor will get in touch to discuss your options with you and will be able to offer appropriate practical and emotional support tailored to your circumstances. This is confidential and does not instigate any kind of formal reporting process.
- Counselling Service. The Counselling Service offers confidential support to students and staff.
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247 (24 hours). The helpline is a team of highly-trained, female advisers, who will empower you to understand your options and support you to make any decisions about the future. They can support you to increase your safety and help you find a refuge place, or other specialist services.
- Refuge provides a wide range of support to women and children through a variety of different services.
- Pankhurst Trust (Manchester Women's Aid) provides support for women and children in Manchester.
- Man Kind Initiative provides support for male victims of domestic violence.
- Men’s Advice Line provides support for male victims of domestic violence.
- LGBT Foundation. The domestic abuse service offers support to individuals who are currently at risk of or who have previously experienced domestic abuse whether this is from a partner(s), expartner(s), or family member(s). The service is available for people who are living within the Greater Manchester area.
- Galop is an LGBT+ anti-violence charity who support people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. They also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.
- Police. To report a crime you can call 101 or visit your local police station to report a crime. Reporting is a big decision and all of the support services linked to above can support you with this, if your friend or loved one decides to make a police report.
- University. If the perpetrator is a member of the University community, your friend or loved one will have the option of submitting a formal report. The first step to making a formal report is to speak with an advisor, who will be able to provide your friend or loved one with advice and support on what options are available to make an informed decision.