Over twelve million individuals are affected each year by domestic violence in the US. The majority of these abuses take place indoors but there are some of them that occur in public and are witnessed by friends, neighbors and family members. When they occur indoors, unless the abuse or abuser decides to talk about it, the help that can be offered is limited. When such abuses occur in the public places, those who witness the abuse may offer some help directly or indirectly by contacting organizations and agencies that take care of individuals suffering from intimate abuse.
Domestic violence often leads to homelessness. The cause of homelessness among women and families is frequently a result of instant escape from domestic violence.
There are a number of organizations that offer victims either temporary or permanent accommodation to ensure their safety.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
- If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, you can call 911 directly.
- If you don’t want to be identified and need confidential help, you can get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) 24 hours in a day.
Since 1996, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been serving as a very important link towards safety of women, men, children and families. The organization has dedicated advocates and staff that cater to the needs of individuals suffering from abuse 24×7, 365 days every year.
Through the hotline, victims of abuse receive confidential, one-on-one support, interventions in their crisis situations, and advice on what next step to take and referral to sources that will provide them with immediate safety. The hotline organization has a database of more than five thousand agencies and resources in communities all over the country.
The hotline has bilingual advocates that are easily available to speak with distressed individuals. Their Language Line provides translations in over one hundred and seventy diverse languages.
The hotline provides domestic violence help to concerned friends, families, co-workers and other individuals who want to obtain information and be guarded on how to assist someone dear to them.
Many domestic violence shelters are unable to house families longer than 30 days to allow space for individuals in immediate danger. Due to the shortage of permanent housing vouchers and affordable housing, victims of domestic violence often return to their abusers because they cannot find long-term shelter.
At HELP USA we provide safe, dignified transitional and permanent housing for victims and their children – including a growing number of men who have fled their home life with their children from abusive wives and partners.
HELP USA is a top provider of domestic violence services. The organization currently manages a residential shelter for homeless victims of domestic violence. They also render a non-residential service program for victims and survivors in addition to a hotline that is dedicated to the needs of the domestic violence survivors. HELP USA also offers domestic violence counseling and services at all their broad-spectrum intermediary housing facilities all over the country. Victims of domestic violence are also provided yearly grant for their educational and career goals at HELP USA.
How your family members can help the abused
Frequently family members of the individual suffering abuse try to physically remove the victim from the abusive partner because he or she is unable to leave by himself or herself. This action is not recommended as it infringes on the victim’s independence in the same way as the abuse. It is natural for them to feel concerned for their loved one but overall, it is the victim who needs to make the final decision.
Your family members can serve as a source of support by helping the abused draft a safety plan or refer them to individuals or organizations that may help. Family members need to continue to offer support and should never motivate individual facing the abuse to leave. The support may help the abused remain safe or make them feel empowered to exit the marriage when they are ready.
- Your family members must be well acquainted with the realities of domestic violence and abuse to be able to help.
- They need to avoid placing blame on the victim or excusing the abuser. Abusive behaviors are not justifiable for whatever reason.
- The family member who want to offer the abused or abuser some forms of help need to know that they can’t make the abuser change. The decision to change or not, will come from them.
- Overall, both the family members and the abused need to learn and practice self-care to minimize possible stress by engaging in things that you enjoy or things that relax you, ensure your well being and maintain your health too.