With one in six women experiencing violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, there is a likelihood that someone you know will have had, or knows someone who has had, an experience of violence. You may also know or interact with a perpetrator of violence against women.
Many people will hide their experiences because it is too upsetting, or for fear of losing their job or facing rejection from their friends and family.
How you respond to the disclosure has a great impact on the person’s wellbeing and safety.
What should you do?
Recognise the signs that a person might be experiencing violence. Take all reports of discrimination, harassment or violence seriously.
Respond appropriately to a disclosure of violence by believing the person:
Make sure they understand it’s not their fault
Be patient and listen to their story
Find a private space to talk freely
Don’t ask too many questions about what has happened as this can be re-traumatising
Don’t push them to leave their situation or take actions
Make sure they know the perpetrator is responsible for the abusive behaviour
Respect their right to have control over what they say and the actions they take.
Refer them to specialist support. You may offer to go with them to any appointments to make sure they are safe. Some options for support include:
Resources for professionals working in response to violence against women. Content includes risk assessment frameworks and tools, resources for inclusive practice and a library of professional case studies and webinars.
The AVERT family violence training package is an innovative, multi-disciplinary training package in responding effectively to family violence. Designed for workers at all levels within the community services, health, family law and human services sectors.
The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence (SHRFV) model was developed to provide a system-wide approach which is now being applied by hospitals across Victoria. This toolkit supports its implementation.