Suspecting or knowing that someone you know is subjected to violence is often frustrating. You want to help, but what can you do?
Listen to and do not question her. Women subjected to violence often feel guilt and shame; these feelings are reinforced if you question her behaviour or have an “I told you so” attitude.
Make clear that you will not abandon her even if she chooses to pursue her relationship with the person who harms her. Let her know that you will be there for her if she needs support.
Break the isolation. Don’t give up on her: get in touch with her even if she withdraws (e.g. can never come when you invite her over or suggest activities, or is dismissive when you get in touch).
Call Kvinnofridslinjen for support and information
You are welcome to call Kvinnofridslinjen as a family member or friend if you have questions about how to support someone close to you or if you want to speak to someone about your experiences. We are social workers and nurses with experience of providing support to people in crisis or in difficult life situations. The line is open around the clock and your call is free of charge. Your call will not show on the telephone bill. We are bound by professional secrecy and your call is anonymous.
Our job is to listen and provide you with professional support. We are able to inform you about appropriate healthcare departments if the person you know have physical or psychological injuries, explain how to report a crime to the police, or list support services available in your area.
The staff is Swedish-speaking but can use an interpreter when necessary. Please hold while the interpreter is being connected. It may take up to 15 minutes. Kvinnofridslinjen can only be accessed in Sweden.
Kvinnofridslinjen is run by the National Centre for Knowledge on Men’s Violence Against Women (NCK), on behalf of the Swedish Government.