Are you a friend or a family member?

If you are a friend, co-worker or family member, you are also welcome to contact us to talk about how you can best support a person who is or has been the victim of abuse. It may be hard to support and listen to the person without venting your own thoughts and feelings.

When a person is the victim of intimate partner violence, it is common to feel guilt and shame about the situation. It is therefore important that you try to listen without judging. Show her that you believe in her, even if what she tells you sounds absurd or strange. Avoid questioning what she does. Sole blame for the situation lies with the abuser. But, it is important to remember that if you appear too critical about her relationship, her abusive partner, or her choices she may push you away instead of coming to you for support.

Try to be there for her as much as you can. If she can call you or come to your home at any time, let her know this. This may be critical if she manages to get out of the relationship and needs to flee. A person who is dealing with domestic violence may withdraw and push you away. You may need to be more active than usual, and she may cancel at short notice or give lots of excuses. Continue contacting her. She might not show it, but it means a lot to her that you keep showing you care!

It is also common for a person who has been subjected to physical, psychological or sexual violence by a person outside of a romantic relationship or by a stranger to feel guilt and shame. As a family member, friend or co-worker, it is important that you listen and provide support without judging. Put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetrator.

Document and write down dates and events related to your friend or family member. This may be important if she chooses to file a police report or contact other authorities. You can let her know what support is available and encourage her to contact a women’s shelter or young women’s empowerment centre. Here you can find all of the women’s shelters and young women’s empowerment centres in Sweden:

ROKS – National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Shelters in Sweden
Unizon – represents over 130 Swedish women’s shelters, young women’s empowerment centres and other support services which work together for a gender-equal society free from abuse