Women's Health (USA)

Research on Your Own First

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“The more you understand the dynamics of intimate partner violence, the better able you will be to offer support,” says Anna Nicolosi, operations manager at Stronghear­ts Native Helpline. Expressing concerns about someone’s relationsh­ip is super-dicey territory, so learn the red flags and the different forms of offense before starting a conversati­on. This will help you avoid common mistakes that could jeopardize the situation. (Not what you want.…)

How to do this? Contact a trained advocate via the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) or live-chat at thehotline.org. Or find contact info for a local organizati­on and give them a rundown of the situation. A common misconcept­ion is that hotlines are *only* for the person in the situation—but Glass says family and friends often call in too.

Take a few notes about the nature of the relationsh­ip and any concerning behaviors you’ve witnessed or heard about so you’re ready to share them when asked why you’re calling. Also, make a list of questions you want to cover, says Atkinson, such as “Is it okay if I say or do X?” and “What local resources are available if they want to leave, find housing, or get legal aid?” And to ensure they’re comfortabl­e potentiall­y calling on their own behalf in the future, “How do you handle confidenti­ality?” Clarifying what you should (and shouldn’t) do in your role can give you the confidence you need to tackle what comes next.

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