When it comes to working with victims of domestic violence it's hard to know what to do. There isn't a cookie cutter or one size fits all approach. The follow is a general list of tips for helping survivors of domestic violence. Don't overdo. At all times keep yourself safe.
- Take good care of yourself emotionally and physically. Get adequate rest and good nutrition.
- Immerse yourself daily in The Word. Maintain an active spiritual life by letting God prepare you for the task to which He has called you. Daily devotions and prayer will help greatly.
- Use tools of active listening. Lean forward. Make eye contact as much as possible. Do your best to seem interested in what is being said. Your value as a volunteer lies in your ability to listen reflectively and allow the caller the freedom to vent as much as possible.
- If the victim is upset allow them freedom to talk. They will slowly calm down and be better able to think realistically. This will enable the victim to make better decisions. Don’t try to rush them too much or make decisions for them.
- Volunteers cannot solve client problems and should never try to take responsibility for them. This leads to frustration and feeling helpless. If you feel yourself beginning to feel frustrated it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate your role in the situation. Supporting others is hard work. There is no shame in removing yourself from a situation you feel is detrimental for you as a support point.
- Capitalize on the victims strengths. Often, in the midst of chaos clients may feel they are inept at managing. Pointing out the strengths of the victim can help calm down the caller and give the caller a higher sense of self-esteem.
- Always remain calm. This will be reassuring to the person you are working with.
- Monitor yourself for signs that you are becoming overloaded. It is ok to say no. Taking good care of yourself means that you will be a better help for those who you are called upon to support.
- Call a prayer partner or your pastor for support when you need it. You cannot share confidential information but you can share general frustrations.