Don’t ignore domestic violence. Police officers hear the same thing from witnesses again and again – I heard/saw/perceived domestic violence but didn’t want to get involved. If you hear your neighbors engaged in a violent situation, call the police. It could save a life.
- Lend an ear. If someone ever confides in you they are experiencing domestic violence, listen without judgment. Believe what they are telling you and ask how you can help.
- Be available. If someone you know is thinking about leaving or is in fear the violence will escalate, be ready to help. Keep your phone with you and the ringer on, make sure you have gas in your car and discuss an escape plan or meeting place.
- Know the number to a nearby shelter. You never know who might need refuge in a hurry. Keep numbers to local shelters and the National Domestic Violence Hotline in your phone. (800-799-7233).
- Check in regularly. If a loved one or friend is in danger, reach out regularly to ensure his or her safety.
- Be a resource. Someone experiencing violence may not be able to research shelters, escape plans or set up necessities like bank accounts and cell phones while living with his or her abuser. Offer to do the legwork to help ease stress and keep thing confidential.
- Write it down. Document every incident you witness and include the date, time, location, injuries and circumstances. This information could be very useful in later police reports and court cases, both criminal and civil.
- Get the word out. Assist a local shelter or domestic violence organization in their efforts to raise awareness in your community. Or use your personal connections to start a grassroots campaign. Organize talks at your workplace wellness fair, HOA meetings and church groups.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Use your power as a consumer and refuse to support the culture perpetuated in music, movies, television, games and the media that glorifies violence, particularly against women.