2. Help Them Get Their Financial Ducks In A Row
One of the most important kinds of help that can be given to a person leaving an emotionally abusive situation is practical: getting them financially set up. Financial abuse can be a strong component of abusive situations; the Money Advice Centre outlines some of the most common abusive tactics, which include controlling access to funds, preventing employment or demanding accountability for every penny spent.
But even if there isn’t an element of financial control in the abusive relationship, a monetary cushion is exceptionally helpful to pay for temporary accommodation, travel, legal costs and any other unexpected expenses. Whether you can help your friend open a separate bank account, keep emergency funds for them in your own account, maintain a cash box or consult a financial adviser with them, this is one of the best ways you can help.
3. Connect Them With Experts
Emotional support is a huge part of helping people extricate themselves from emotionally abusive relationships, as is practical help (the offer of a car to move their stuff, a place to store things, the provision of a spare phone or a counsellor), but you can’t do this on your own. Let me repeat that: you can’t do this on your own. Your friend is in a nasty situation and there are professionals who can give him or her the advice, counselling and other clinical support that they need.
You can offer a safe place for them to make those connections, whether it’s via phone, email or in person. Local women’s shelters, abuse hotlines and organizations are often easily located and contacted, since part of their entire MO is to be available to the public. The Women’s Law Organization recommends a feature on the American Psychological Association’s website that allows you to find local counsellors who specialize in emotional and violent abuse. (Take note that many domestic violence charities also have resources committed to emotional abuse, so don’t automatically rule them out.) Go with them if they need you to; stay with them when they’re on the phone; take notes. A good place to start is the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
4. Help With A Safety Plan
The “safety plan” is actually a technical term. Love Is Respect, an organization which targets abuse in all its forms, explains that it’s “a personalized, practical plan that can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you’re in danger.” Helping a person in an emotionally abusive situation make a safety plan to get out is an exceptionally helpful thing to do.
You don’t have to offer them your roof over their head, though you can, if you’re comfortable with that. It’s worth encouraging them to talk to professional organizations to get advice about where to go, and how to do it quickly and without fuss. The US Office Of Women’s Health outlines vital items that should be taken if fleeing an emotionally or physically abusive situation, including identification, important documents, all medication, medical records, car permits, and personal items that are important to the abused person. One good thing you can definitely do: store items for them that are difficult to move around quickly, or highly sentimental.