I am a Service Provider and one of my clients is living with abuse. What should I do?
No matter what sector you work in, you can provide support. Recognizing you have an important role to play is the first step.
Develop a trusting relationship. Ask questions about how she is when you meet for appointments or programs. Listen without judgement.
Don’t make assumptions. Don’t make assumptions on her identity and experiences based on stereotypes. Avoid any stereotypes or judgements about her race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, culture, or ability. Ask how she identifies in terms of gender and sexuality. Remember that women who have experienced violence or abuse may identify as “victims”, “survivors”, or something else altogether. Create space for her to self-identify.
Help her access resources and with safety planning. As a service provider, it may be easier for you to make phone calls to other organizations, to leave or receive messages or to find out up-to-date information about waiting lists.
Eliminate red tape. If she is asking for support, connect her directly with other service providers or other services, in a way that feels seamless. Advocate for her to receive the services that she needs.
Stay connected. Establish a way to check in with her regularly.
Build your organization’s capacity to respond to abuse. Your organization may not traditionally focus on supporting women living with violence – if so, consider building your organizational capacity. This can happen through staff training, attending informative professional development and events, consulting with peers, reviewing policies, and more.