Women's Health (USA)

Research on Your Own First


“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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