Take the #16DaysPledge

16 Days Pledge

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, raise your voice by pledging that you know how to support someone who’s experiencing domestic violence.

When a friend or family member confides that they’re being abused—or if you suspect that abuse is happening— it can be overwhelming. You’re worried about your friend’s safety, and you want to help. But it can be difficult to know what to do, while also keeping everyone safe. Do you know what to do?

Odds are, you may not. 1/3 of Ontarians don’t know what to do if they suspect abuse.1 

It’s especially important that you know how to help, because women accessing domestic violence shelters in Ontario most commonly (31%) learn about these services through family, friends, or neighbours.2 It could be your support that makes all the difference for someone subjected to domestic violence. 

Here are some steps you can take to help someone you know who is in an abusive relationship:

From November 25th to December 10th, raise your voice by taking Interval House’s pledge that you know what to do to support a friend or loved one subjected to domestic violence. You can:

  • Share a photo or video of yourself making your pledge on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter
  • Tweet or update your Facebook status with your pledge

Use the hashtag #16DaysPledge and tag Interval House in your post! 

intervalhouse.ca/16Days
Facebook: IntervalHouseTO 
Instagram: @Interval_House 
Twitter: @Interval_House

[Image transcript:

How can you support someone experiencing domestic violence?

1/3 of Ontarians don’t know what to do if they suspect abuse.  

Women accessing domestic violence shelters in Ontario most commonly (31%) learn about these services through family, friends, or neighbours.  It could be your support that makes all the difference for someone subjected to domestic violence. 

Do you know what to do?

Here are some steps you can take to help someone you know who is in an abusive relationship:

1. Talk to her. Let her know that you’re concerned. If she denies the abuse, don’t force the issue, but let her know that you’re there if she ever needs to talk. 
2. Reassure her. Reassure her that the abuse is not her fault and that you’re there to listen without judgment. Her safety is paramount, so be sure to reinforce that she shouldn’t confront her partner. 
3.    Be there for her. You can:

  • Offer her a safe place to stay by letting her, her children, and/or pets stay at your home. If her partner comes to your door, don’t let him in.
  • Watch her children while she’s in the process of getting help. 
  • Let her leave a packed bag at your home if it’s safe to do so. 
  • Offer to accompany her as she seeks information and resources.
  • Be prepared with resources such as information on her local women’s shelter. Be sure not to share paper pamphlets or other materials that could be discovered by her partner.

4. Be understanding. Your friend may not feel able or ready to leave her abusive partner. Leaving might put her or her children in danger. She might feel ashamed. Continue to support her, while understanding that she might not be ready to leave. 
5. Prepare your friend for an emergency. If she’s immediate danger, let her know that she should call 911. She can leave the phone off the hook if she’s unable to speak. If she’s afraid to call the police, she can call her local women’s shelter or crisis centre. Toronto residents can call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511 or Interval House at 416-924-1491.
However strong the desire to help a friend, always keep yourself safe. Don’t get in the middle of an assault. In an emergency, call the police at 911]

Sources:

1. Interval House Angus Reid Omnibus Poll, 2015

2. Ministry of Community and Social Services, “Highlights from the 2014-15 Violence Against Women Satisfaction Survey”, 2015