Millions of women each year are victims of domestic and sexual violence. Violence against women affects everyone- the victims are our sisters, mothers, partners, friends, clients and co-workers. Most people know someone who is or has been a victim of violence, even though the victim may not have disclosed the violence.
It is hard to know how to respond to the victim and to the perpetrator, but peer and community involvement can be the most effective forms of intervention. Listed below are some basic suggestions on what you can do. Contact your local crisis program for more information.
As a Service Provider:
Become informed about domestic and sexual violence and how it relates to your agency so you can respond appropriately to victims who utilize your services.
Obtain information from the local domestic violence/sexual assault program on the resources available and the facts about violence against women.
Invite the local domestic violence/sexual assault program to speak at a staff meeting, to your students, etc.
Attend the local volunteer advocate training to learn more about violence against women, the resources available, and what you can do.
Educate other staff about effects of domestic violence on children and the warning signs.
Include the crisis program in your resource list to increase referrals by staff and volunteers.
Have pamphlets, cards, etc. available to give to a woman if and when she discloses.
If someone discloses, offer to call or let her use your phone to call the crisis program. If she isn’t able to meet with an advocate safely at another time, offer to let the advocate meet her at your office during your next appointment.
Ask to be placed on the mailing list for the local program so you receive newsletters, training notices, etc.
Hang anti-violence materials and information about the local crisis program in your office waiting area, restrooms, classroom, etc. to send a message that it is a safe, supportive place to talk.
Evaluate agency polices and procedures and how they may impact victims who work at your office. Encourage policies that emphasize no tolerance of violence and are supportive of the needs of victims.
As a Community Member, Friend, or Family Member:
Be nonviolent and non-judgmental in your interactions with others.
Speak out against violence when you are confronted with it in your daily life. This can happen in both subtle and obvious ways:
Refuse to support media/entertainment forums that perpetuate objectification of women and violence against women.
Consider the “economics of violence”- don’t buy items from places that support violence. For example, don’t go to the gas stations that sell pornography, don’t go to movies that minimize domestic & sexual violence, don’t buy music or video games that feature gratuitous violence and minimize violence against women. Let the business know why you made your decision.
Don’t laugh at sexist or racist jokes or jokes about sexual orientation. Tell your friends that the jokes are offensive.
Challenge attitudes and beliefs that allow the violence and blame the victim.
In personal and private situations, hold the batterer, not the victims, accountable for the violence. Address behaviors that are abusive (i.e., friends who talk about keeping their partner “in line” by physically abusing her or otherwise degrading their partners).
Show support for victims of violence and crisis programs:
Attend public awareness events in your community and on campus, such as candlelight vigils or presentations.
Raise public awareness about domestic and sexual violence through formal and informal forums (media, community groups, schools, presentations).
Learn how to respond appropriately if someone discloses to you. Help is available. Contact your local domestic violence/sexual assault program for more information on how to help yourself or a friend.
Educate youth about violence, violence prevention, and how to help a friend.
Support legislation that assists victims and increases accountability for the batterer.
Donate time as a volunteer. Most crisis programs have a variety of volunteer opportunities, including both direct service with victims and indirect service that would not entail working with victims.
Donate money or items to the local crisis program.
To locate the local crisis program nearest you, please follow this link to the Get Help page. and select the program location on the map nearest you for contact information.
Nebraska Spanish Helpline 1-877-215-0167- Línea de Crisis
Outside of Nebraska call:
1-800-799-7233- National Domestic Violence Hotline or
1-800-656-HOPE- Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN).
1-866-331-9474 – National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline