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Helping A Victim

View and Download our Helping Survivors Toolkit

If someone reaches out to talk to you about their abuse, your job is to be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible while honoring your own boundaries. Support can mean providing resources, helping survivors connect to services, and listening.

If you know someone who is being abused:

  • Recognize the signs of abuse (physical and emotional) and talk to them privately about your concern.

  • Respond:

    • Listen and empathize without judgement or advice

    • Maintain their confidentiality and refrain from trying to investigate

    • Never give the impression that you don’t believe their story (even if you know their partner)

    • Offer to hold on to a bag of important items (documents, money, etc.) in case they need to flee in an emergency

    • Help them create a safety plan for themselves and their children

  • Refer to professionals like Daya

Use simple and powerful statements of support:

  • “I believe you.”

  • “It’s not your fault.”

  • “You are not alone.” 

  • “I care about you and am here to listen or help in any way I can.”

  • “You didn’t deserve this.”

  • “I’m glad that you are sharing this with me, it takes a lot of courage.”

Be a safe person for survivors to share their story with:

  • Leave out “why” questions 

  • Remind the survivor, more than once, that they are not to blame and they do not deserve to be abused. 

  • Do not push the survivor to take actions or share information if they are not ready. 

  • Check in periodically. The event may have happened a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean the pain is gone. 

  • Help the survivor identify people and organizations that can trust. 

  • Know your resources and honor your boundaries. If you feel overwhelmed, communicate with the survivor and help them locate a professional for help.

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