Four Ways to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Without Opening Your Wallet

Close up of crying woman's eyeDespite radical movement toward women’s equality, domestic violence remains a major stumbling block that prevents many women from feeling safe or achieving full equality with men.

Some studies indicate more women are injured by domestic violence than any by other cause while pregnant, and between 25% and 50% of women will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. Although the rates are lower among men, they too experience domestic violence.

If you are able to make a monetary donation and are looking for a way to do so, you may be interested in learning about the GoodTherapy.org GoodCause campaign, or making a donation here. However, if you want to reach out to domestic violence victims, you don’t necessarily have to do so by donating money. There are several other ways to help.

Give Your Talents

If you have professional training or experience, don’t be afraid to reach out to domestic violence organizations and ask if they could use your skills. Putting together a class or simply showing up ready to help may be all you need to do. If you’re an attorney, for example, you might give legal advice to survivors. A writer might offer résumé and cover letter-writing classes, while an artist could do art therapy with survivors’ children. Your talents don’t even have to be directly related to helping survivors; sometimes people just need a break. Scheduling a concert, book fair, or talent show can lift the spirits of even the most frustrated families.

Give Your Time

Many domestic violence shelters and advocacy organizations use volunteers to keep things going. Try contacting a local domestic violence organization and asking how you can volunteer. Some options include:

  • Staffing a crisis phone line or online chat
  • Driving survivors to doctor’s appointment and job interviews
  • Volunteering as an advocate who helps survivors find jobs, housing, child care, and legal services
  • Working at an outreach booth
  • Cooking or cleaning for a shelter
  • Fostering a dog or cat whose “parent” can’t keep the animal in a domestic violence shelter

Give a Nonmonetary Donation

Some domestic violence survivors have to leave everything behind in order to escape. Clothing, small household goods, and big-ticket items such as cars and electronics can help a person escaping domestic violence get a new start. A mobile phone, for example, is an essential tool for someone who has just left an abusive relationship. Consider donating your used cell phones to programs like Verizon’s HopeLine; they will refurbish the phones, load them with free airtime and basic services, and donate them to participating domestic violence organizations. You may also ask your local domestic violence shelter if it is in need of donations, or start a clothing drive requesting interview-appropriate, gently used clothing for survivors looking for a job.

Help the People Around You

You don’t have to work with a formal organization to help domestic violence survivors. With the rate of intimate partner violence so high, odds are good that you already know someone in need of help. Try opening your home to her/him for a few nights, or offering to provide child care while she/he searches for a permanent home. Consider taking in the person’s dog if she or he is concerned that leaving a violent situation means abandoning a beloved pet.

If you know someone who’s not yet ready to leave a violent relationship, make it clear that you want to help and will be available when she/he is ready to ask for help, but avoid telling her/him what to do. If you have friends or family who might be able to help—such as therapists, attorneys, doctors, or social workers—try recruiting their assistance as well and letting your friend know that these people are available.

References:

  1. Domestic Violence and pregnancy. (n.d.). UCSF Medical Center. Retrieved from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/domestic_violence_and_pregnancy/
  2. Domestic violence statistics. (n.d.). American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/statistics.html
  3. Eight ways to support a domestic violence victim. (n.d.). The City of Portland Police Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/60639

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Liza

    Liza

    May 18th, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    One thing that my daughters and I have done is to give old clothing and household items to a shelter in our town that helps find housing and jobs to moms and their children who have left violent homes. For us this has been so meaningful to see so many families who are starting over benefit from our things that are still good but we don’t use anymore. We have also had the chance to volunteer at the shelter and it is so wonderful to see so many women who have lft simply awful situations finally begin to see a little light at the end of the tunnel when they see that they are going to be able to once again lead a meaningful life. It is so hard for many of them to start over but when they finally develop that confidence that they can succeed, you just see it in them and know that they will.

  • jenny

    jenny

    May 19th, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    sometimes ive wondered what can be done to help anyone in need,when my own finances are not great.as ive found out before and now,it seems there is a lot that can be done.as long as you have the willingness to help,the avenues will always be there.

  • Della

    Della

    May 20th, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    WE naturally think that money is the way to help victims, any victim of something terrible. But what I have found most of all is just lending an ear, being there to listen when it feels like there is no one else. I have found that for many victims of domestic violence it is still hard to talk to their families because there could still be this disbelief that someone they knew and loved could have done this to another. So just be there to give love and support in whatever way they need it. I think that this is what so many are looking for.

  • Jana B

    Jana B

    January 8th, 2017 at 7:37 PM

    I am in almost all catagiries minus the child abuse as i don’t have chilren as i medically couldn’t from 3 eptopic pregnancies and ended up with a hysterectomy even before had gone through reconstrucktive tubal surgrey and treatments of many percise time scduled appts. With specialist for help in concieving my marriage got intense and went thtough a rare type of a one time abusesituation but it ended in a divorse as i was neglected the chance to coneive by having a very expensive injection that would vring avout ovulation within 38 hrs after it cause the timing to ve at its vest to concerve and i was tpld ge was going out of town for work which NEVER had he gone anywhemwhere but his office where he was mgr. of a. Dept. where no traveling is needed as ge had no reason to do wk away from from company. So he lefy and i was sure by gut feelings he didn’t want a child anylonger and this was a once in ny lifetime oppertunity to get the clost chance i would ever have. Although there was no real arguments and he shares no informarion on where ge would be staying for 3 days except the city which is only at most 50 minutest away. And it was a weekend at that with no info. Why he was going to do whTever.he never gave me a reson just said he had to go. ..i never cried over something he had done hardly none at all so o see this different behavior yhat effected my life gorever as we divorced for the sake of wothdrawing from each other from what had hurt my heart and gut told me ge perpously made up a unexplained reason not to be home to try to coneive a eralth pregnacy. Im experienced a 13 yrs full blown domestic violence relationship that decribes what is said here including finincial abuse and brainwashing me unknownly intil i looked up the word and bingo the deffination answered my most needed answer why i allowed this to keep me thinking of what i was doibg wrong cause reality wasn’t matching up with what his reason for punishment i could not make any sense of what. I was staying around for as this was just readidly telling me im to accept the blame and keep my moth shut which was no question could be asked so i became cery confysed as it dould change in mid stream to a honey.im just wanting to relax and gont worry about us we will be fine and tell he loved me…its veen 31/2years since i packed up to leave at his request for a trial 4 mos seperation but i was wauting for a vou her to be reapproved as the one he refused to get me 35.00 to use toward hotel to get out so i could claim i was homeless. He didn’t want to wait 30 days at the most so he walked in one night packed up and said ge was leaving me there…He hasn’t done anything but become a drug dealer and gambler and run with young woman. He has made my life hell as the abuse continues even as we share info. As he abandon me and got away from anyone i knew and put down and made up reason to not be friends with anyone i met and he found out….He is a con artist at what he does and even tonight i am alone in a world with being disabled from a lung disease and trapped with absolutley nobody to help me even go to get meds or food. So i call in desperation for him to come my way and get him to take me to stoes. It costs me gas and fir anything else ge need. If i dont give him the mobey im told bad wirds and he throws things at me and he destroys and takes whatever he pleases. I dont know how to vreak the line as i am stuck in a lonliness of a world where my family doent talkto me cause i see him and my friends dont wanna hear his name. The aftermath clum i read it described all my symptom and then what physidal damage it has on me and im going through suicidal thought cause he blames me for nothing then apologizes to get money out of ny disabilty income of 721.00 a month. Im starting tomarrow for my third intake at DvC for counseling. I have to move from here as i feel dead abd scared.ZZ_A

  • ZR

    ZR

    May 20th, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    I’d rather spend some money to a cause that helps victims of domestic violence than to deal with it hands on.having heard of incidents wherein the helpers have come under attack by the perpetrators I just can’t help but think this way.

  • Jennifer

    Jennifer

    October 5th, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    My Best Friend was stabbed to death by her husband about 4 months ago. She tried everything she was told to do by police and lawyers to keep herself safe and her children. She filed a restraining order, called police when threatened, stayed with friends, filed for divorce. In the end, nothing she did helped keep her alive. The police let her down and were not able to keep her safe. We all stood by her and helped the best we could. None of us thought this man she called her husband was ever capable of murder, but then again, isn’t that what we all say after a tragic situation? It is an ongoing agonizing and frustrating feeling to think about what we all could have done differently. Her husband is in prison and the trial will be long and drawn out. We all will do our best to make sure he never sees the light of day. However, at the end of the day, no matter what happens with him, we are left without our friend, daughter, mother. Why do people think it is ok to hurt someone else? They have no right!!

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