How have other people helped?

There are many different ways to reach out to people living with family violence.

There isn't one right thing to do or say.

Here are some examples of how people have helped others.

Listening

“I got a lot of help by just talking to my family and friends, and just having them there and listening to me. I spent hours talking to them, one minute I'd be yelling and screaming and the next minute I'd be calm, and the next minute I'd be crying. They were marvellous, I got the help I needed.”

Naming

“She told me it wasn't right. It was a pivotal moment because [the abuser] always told me it was right, and I made him angry and if I had just listened to him... But she told me it wasn't OK what he was doing, and it got worse. So I did something about it.”

“When I saw my mate yelling at his partner I decided to man up - I took him aside and said there's got to be a better way. The good thing is he got help and we are still mates today.”

Being there

“I had this mate and when I got out of hand and turned up at my wife's house she would call him and he would always come and get me, whatever the time, sometimes it would be 3 in the morning. He would come and pick me up, even if the cops were there, they'd let me go with him. He'd take me back to his place and they'd give me a feed, give me a bed, they just looked after me. I saw that mate recently and I just burst into tears. I never thanked him back then, but I've thanked him now for being such a great friend.”

“My friend said I could call anytime, anytime at all and I did, I would call up at all times of the day and night and that would be OK. I could go over to her house, I would turn up a mess, in tears, and that would be OK. Sometimes I would stay the night - in all those years she was just there for me, she never asked for anything in return.”

Looking after children

“Jill was on her own with three preschoolers, and her neighbour Mrs Jones could hear how things got pretty stressful - yelling, smacking, tears, especially from the older boy Jimmy. One day Mrs Jones plucked up the courage to call out in a quiet time that it must be tough looking after three such adventurous and active children, and offered to look after Jimmy sometimes if that would help. Sooner or later Jill did bring Jimmy over to meet Mrs Jones and he had a look around and enjoyed a cup of Milo at the kitchen table. This became a pattern, especially when Jill was under stress. Quite soon Jimmy could see the benefits, and he would announce, as the pressure rose and Jill started to look frazzled, that he was ‘Going over to Mrs Milo's.’”

Offering practical help

“We'd already had a few chats over the fence so when I heard yelling one night I felt alright about asking her if she was OK and if I could do anything to help.”

“The children are often down there at the neighbours, they are the greatest. They're a couple in their sixties, they've got grandchildren of their own. My kids wander down whenever they like basically, and she'll have them down there, she'll babysit for me. They're good.”

Getting help

“A woman at work had picked it up, I think she had been in an abusive relationship so she kind of knew. She approached me and said 'Look things aren't right'. She gave me the phone number of the women's refuge and a lawyer and said she would come with me. It made it so much easier, I didn't have to start from scratch.”

Women’s Refuge has more information on helping someone you know.

More examples of helping others can be found in our Stories of hope and change.

Shine is another organisation to contact for support.