Listening to someone disclosing that they are in an abusive relationship is not easy and whilst I wish I could write a list of things of what to say and what not to say life is just not that simple and domestic violence certainly isn’t. Of course, their certain do’s and don’ts.

The Do’s

  • Thank them for trusting you
  • Let me them know you believe them
  • Ask them how you can help them
  • Ask them why they choose you – be sure you are the one they want to disclose everything too, before they have shared too much. They may prefer to go to HR for example.
  • Listening without judgement or presumption

The Don’ts

  • Ask them why they haven’t left or why they stayed
  • Tell them to leave
  • Make assumption about their situation
  • Make judgments, even if you have been through you do not know their situation
  • Presume you know how they feel.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Which is why it is so important to understand the dynamics of abuse, know the signs and how to communicate to someone subjected to abuse.

This will enable empathetic communication and from that starting point, honest, open communication can start. Meaning the person disclosing will feel safe and understood. Thus, enabling the right help at the right time and minimising the chance of further trauma.

Believe when I say, disclosing domestic violence is never easy, especially in the workplace. If the disclosure is handled badly the person disclosing could feel unsafe and decide it was wrong to speak up. It may take months even years for them to speak up again.

So, listening with knowledge and understanding of domestic violence creates empathy which hopefully lead to trust. Which is good for all involved.



Lisa McAdams

About Lisa: Lisa McAdams is a domestic violence strategist and solutions consultant who through her company Lead the Way implements domestic violence workplace solutions into businesses.

It has been said, you need at least 10,000 hours experience to become an expert in something. And with over 390,000 hours lived experience of abuse, over 100,000 hours working in corporate and over 80,000 hours learning and researching the consequences and outcomes of domestic violence and how to solve these issues, Lisa really can lay claim to being one of the leading experts in her field.

Lisa is considered a thought leader in the space of domestic violence workplace solutions for the comprehensive policies and training packages she implements into corporate businesses. But also for her blogs, podcast and as a media commentator.

Lisa knows corporates and domestic violence and has combined these two areas of expertise to help corporates implement the policies and training to support staff, improve company culture whilst at the same time improving productivity and profitability.

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