How you can help
You don’t need to have all the answers to be able to support someone with a disability who you think may be experiencing domestic and family violence.
The least helpful thing you can do is nothing.
- People with disability experience domestic and family violence at higher rates compared to people without disability.
- People with disability can experience unique forms of domestic and family violence.
- People with disability can experience more barriers to reporting abuse or accessing support.
- People with disability may not know or understand that what they are experiencing is domestic and family violence.
- Being aware of the issues people with disability can experience can help to prevent domestic and family violence.
- Make sure you recognise the signs of domestic and family violence against people with disability.
- Make sure you know what support options and resources are available for people with disability experiencing domestic and family violence.
Challenge your thinking about people with disability
- People with disability have a right to healthy and respectful intimate relationships and are not just “lucky to have a partner”.
- People with disability can be at higher risk of domestic and family violence due to social isolation.
- The experience of people with disability being controlled can be normalised by society based on assumptions that people with disability are not free to make their own choices.
Start a conversation
- Make sure you are alone with the person—never start a conversation in front of the person you suspect may be using domestic and family violence.
- You might offer to take them out to coffee—make sure they feel safe and comfortable to have a conversation.
- You might say "I have noticed you don’t seem like yourself lately”.
- It is important to make sure you are supporting the person to make their own decisions, not taking over for them.
- You could share details of support services and resources.
- You could offer to call a support service with the person.
- You could call a support service for advice about the best way to assist the person or to have a conversation.
Keep checking in
- Your job isn’t done after you’ve checked in once. Keep checking in with the person.
- Make sure they are safe and understand their options.
- If they say they’re not ready for your help, keep checking in; they may be ready for help in the future.
- Your support can make a difference.
How to help
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