Intimate Partner Violence: Supporting Someone Who is Experiencing Abuse

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In this video, Marion Little explains how you can be prepared to help someone when you suspect there is physical, sexual or emotional abuse in their life, whether you are a friend, family member or one who provides professional support.

She suggests that you let the person know that you are there for them and that you trust they are the expert when it comes to making a decision about their situation. They will benefit if you recognize their pain and resilience, express what you see and how it makes you feel and offer your availability and unconditional respect.

She also suggests that it is not helpful to make judgements, because a person who stays in a violent relationship is living a complex reality of love and fear. The decision to leave can have very dangerous consequences.

It is also useful for you, as support person, to know what resources are available in your community — such as a women’s or men’s shelter or a sexual assault centre — so that you will be ready to share this information at a time when the abused person is ready to make use of it.

Please note that this particular video does not specifically refer to the abuse of men but supporting men involves the same compassion as supporting women. In another KidCareCanada video, Marion Little explains that abuse can happen in ANY intimate partner relationship. Statistically, however, it is more likely to happen to women. (See: Why doesn’t a person who has been harmed, report it? https://youtu.be/xOPY3iX-nM8)

And, although this video does not directly address abusive homes where children are present, intimate partner violence is even more complicated when children are involved. In British Columbia (and most other jurisdictions) you have a responsibility to report situations where you suspect a child is endangered.

Here is a quote from the BC Government’s public safety website: “If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night.”

See: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/protecting-children/reporting-child-abuse for more information.

This video features: Marion Little, who at the time of filming was Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dispute Resolution Program, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, BC, Canada. In this KidCareCanada video series, Marion Little discusses Intimate Partner Abuse. Please note that if you are in BC or the Yukon, you can access toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service (Crisis Support) 24 hours per day, 1-800-563-0808 or email VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.