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What You Can Do to Support a Co-Worker Who is Being Abused

Some AFSCME members may be approached by a friend or co-worker who is a victim of domestic violence and wants someone to talk to. The following list of "do's" and "don'ts" may be helpful.

  • Believe her. 

  • Encourage, but don't pressure her to talk about the abuse. 

  • Respect her need for confidentiality. 

  • Listen to her. Support her feelings without judging her. 

  • Let her know that she is not alone. Domestic assault happens to many women. 

  • Reassure her that the abuse is not her fault. She is not to blame. 

  • Give her clear messages that: she can't change her partner's behavior; apologies and promises will not end the violence; violence is never justifiable. 

  • Her physical safety is the first priority. Discuss her options and help her make plans for her and her children's safety. 

  • Give her the time she needs to make her own decisions. 

  • If she is not ready to make major changes in her life, do not take away your support. 

  • Give her a list of key community resources that support and work with assaulted women. 

  • Battered women need our support and encouragement. Some forms of advice can be harmful or dangerous. 

    • Don't tell her what to do, when to leave, or not to leave. 

    • Don't tell her to go back and try a little harder. 

    • Don't rescue her by trying to make her decisions for her. 

    • Don't offer to try to talk to her partner to straighten things out. 

    • Don't tell her she should stay because of the children.