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.
- Domestic Violence and pregnancy. (n.d.). UCSF Medical Center. Retrieved from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/domestic_violence_and_pregnancy/
- 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
- 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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