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Family Violence Messages in a Minute - What to do - Non-crisis response

When you ask someone if they are okay, they may not disclose everything to you immediately. Trust needs to be built, especially since it is often deeply damaged within primary victims. This process takes time.

The most important aspect is not full disclosure but connection. If you can establish a safe and trusting relationship with someone, they are likely to slowly but surely begin to trust you. With that trust will come more disclosure.

Work at the pace of the primary victim or the predominant aggressor. Remove your position of judgement and simply be with them. Sit, talk, have a cup of tea, empathise, and show compassion. Non-judgemental support is crucial, regardless of whether someone is being hurt or is the one hurting others.

Try to understand as much as you can about the context of their world, but avoid telling someone you know how they feel. Even if you have walked a similar path, your experiences will be different because you are different people. Just be there, be present.

It’s important to recognise that primary victims may return to the person who hurts them. This is normal because they often still love the person causing them harm. Don’t try to find logic in this; accept it as it is.

Additionally, be aware that if a couple appears to be “back together,” the primary victim may not have had a say in this decision. Sometimes predominant aggressors move back into the lives and homes of their primary victims under duress. Don’t always assume that the primary victim has willingly “got back together.”

Remember, this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Do not judge them for not acting in ways you think they should. Your ongoing support and understanding can make a significant difference.

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