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Some people who have used violence feel shame about their choices and may cope with it in a number of ways, from addressing it head-on to avoiding it by focusing on their partner’s choices instead of their own.Support from friends and family, or from a therapist, elder, or support group, may help channel shame to long-term change.Each person must consider what they’re prepared to offer.Options could include: Perhaps you’re best equipped to provide ongoing, loving, and firm support to help them make healthier choices in relationships.Do your best to prevent that isolation by continuing to reach out with offers of support, regardless of how long it may take the person experiencing violence to accept that support.Just as there is no “perfect victim,” there is no perfect way to intervene or offer support.

We avoid using labeling language such as “abuser” or “perpetrator,” instead using the term “people who have used violence.” Experiencing intimate partner violence often undermines a person’s power, control, and confidence in their choices.Some people experiencing violence may not define their experiences in the relationship as abuse, and may resist or resent those definitions.Some may express a desire to leave the relationship and ask for support in doing so, only to later change their mind.Sometimes responding to people who are being abused by their partners can be overwhelming.Sometimes what they need exceeds what others are able to give. When deciding how to help, you might consider: Both the person who experienced violence and the person who used it may benefit from a variety of forms of short-term and long-term support, and from a network rather than a single person.People who have experienced violence have different needs and priorities and may be influenced by: For this reason, ask the person who experienced violence what they need, rather than taking a default course of action such as calling the police. those with precarious immigration status and those from groups that have experienced police violence), calling the police may not be the safest action to take.Others may feel that entering into a legal process will not contribute to their healing, and they would rather seek an end to the violence through other means.To avoid reinforcing these effects, resist making decisions on their behalf.Rather than telling them what you think they should do, begin by asking them what they need to feel safe and supported.For general coping and self-care tips, visit Crisis Centre’s People of any gender identity are capable of using or experiencing violence in an intimate relationship, including those who do not identify as men or women.For this reason, we use gender-neutral language throughout this section (e.g. However, it is important to acknowledge that intimate partner abuse is a highly gendered form of violence.

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  1. CREVAWC is a member of the Alliance of Canadian Research Centres on Violence. Dating Violence;. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada

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