Q:

I want to help her but don't know how

My neighbour is being physically and mentally abused by her partner, who is my cousin. She is very depressed and I want to help her but don't know how. I stopped him from beating her up the other night, then kept her at my house safe from him, but she ran back to him. What can I do to support her? He also says he wants to stop but doesn't know how?


A:

Thank you for taking the time to write in and for having concerns for your neighbour and cousin that is being physically and mentally abused.

It is always hard to know the right thing to do in these situations. You are very brave to intervene and stop him when he was beating her up.

You can support her by doing exactly what you are doing by intervening and allowing her to have that safe place to go to when things are really bad and violent.

NOW when the violence occurs again PLEASE ring the Police, they are equipped and trained to deal with domestic and family violence situations and they need to know that this is going on for future reference. It shows that you will not turn a blind eye to family violence and you're not prepared to allow his behaviour to go unchecked.

This is the best way to help your cousin and keep her truly safe.

The partner really needs to stop the abuse and violence and get help. He is not going to change from this abusive and violent behaviour on his own until he comes to understand and get the awareness that his violent and abusive behaviour is not ok and it will no longer be tolerated in your neighbourhood and family.

Help is available for him.

Ring 0800 456 450 and get the number of a local stopping violence programme and give him the contact details. Either that or he can do that himself.

It would be better if he could man up and sign into the programme himself, which is his way of showing commitment to change from a violent man to a safe man.

On this website there is information that will help you all to understand what family violence is and the damage that it can do and the consequences and the help that's available. The more we understand the issue of family violence the more equipped we are to deal with it.

I would love to hear from your cousin's partner, to talk with him, to share with him and walk with him through his journey.

In 1992 after years of violence I made the decision to get help after I had badly beaten up my 8 year old daughter with a platform shoe. It was not until I went to the stopping violence programme that I got the understanding, the tools, the skills and the talk and found out that there are other ways to discipline children, that family violence is not ok and that I could have a life without violence.

If possible get your cousin's partner to make contact with me.

Vic 

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