Let Survivors Know What Resources Are Available

Every October, we honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DVAM is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of these issues, share resources, and most importantly, support survivors.

This year, Joyful Heart is honoring DVAM by sharing tools for supporting survivors with our community. Each week, we are covering a new topic and sharing stories about how to put these tools into practice. We invite and encourage you to share these with your community.

This week’s tip is: Know where to point someone for more help.

Bearing witness to a survivor’s story is an incredibly powerful act. And listening to a survivor share their experience is an important part of helping them feel seen, heard, and believed.

But at some point, a survivor may be ready for additional support, whether it is understanding their legal rights, seeking counseling, or preparing to leave their abuser. When this time comes, an important way you can help a survivor is to offer options and leave space for them to decide where to go from there.

The national resources listed in this post can provide information about survivors’ options, including connecting them to local resources in their own community. Have these phone numbers and websites on hand, and let the survivor know that these organizations are available to provide different types of support. You can also offer to help by researching local organizations in your community.

As a survivor begins the process of reaching out for more help, you can continue to support them by revisiting the tools we have already shared. Survivors may face more trauma by repeatedly discussing their experiences, especially to people they don’t know. It is important to continue to be there for a survivor as they take the next steps in their healing journey.

It can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming to seek out additional help, and it may bring up feelings that a survivor wants to share with you.  Listen with an open heart and a non-judgmental ear. Validate what the survivor is going through.

While a survivor takes the next step in their healing journey, you can continue to ask how you can be helpful. Does the survivor need a ride to an appointment? Do they need for someone to watch their children while they complete paperwork? Do they need a meal prepared for them? You may not be a professional, but you can still lend a hand in simple ways during a challenging time.

Finally, remember that while you can point someone to potential resources, it is up to the survivor to decide when and how to take action. When you are equipped with information about the resources listed below, you can confidently share them with survivors who want to reach out. And when survivors are surrounded by a support system—like you—they can decide what kind of help to pursue.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Sexual Assault Hotline

National Child Abuse Hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

What resources would you share with a survivor looking for support? Tweet us at @TheJHF using the hashtag #SupportSurvivors.

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