Every call and chat to the Helpline comes from someone different. Some callers, both girls and guys, identify as survivors of abuse, some as abusers, and some as concerned parents and friends seeking help for someone else. While every call is specific to the individual, here are some phrases and questions that advocates consistently communicate to best help each caller.
“Thanks for reaching out.”
Calling or chatting our Helpline can be nerve-racking, especially if you haven’t reached out for help before. Our calls are completely confidential and anonymous and our advocates have extensive training in dating violence matters. Reaching out for help is the first step to improving your situation, however that may be. We say this line to let you know how happy we are that you’re getting the help you deserve.
“Are you in a safe place to chat?”
It’s critical for your safety that you reach out when your partner isn’t home. If your partner does come home or walk in while you’re talking with an advocate, immediately disconnect the call. Because abusive relationships are based on power and control, an abusive partner is likely to react in anger as you take steps to regain control. Another way to stay safe is to remember to delete our number from your phone and clear your internet browser history after visiting our website.
“Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your situation?”
Before an advocate can begin helping you, she or he has to know your specific situation. This gives you an opportunity to bring up any concerns you’ve had about your relationship. Sometimes, giving a relationship timeline or explaining a recent altercation with your partner can give the advocate a better idea about what you’ve experienced.
“What have you considered doing at this point?”
You are the expert of your own situation. Callers reach out at all different times in their relationships, so advocates need to know what steps you’re ready to take before they can help you find resources. While an advocate won’t give explicit advice on what you should do next, you can talk out some options to make the best decision for yourself.
“How are you taking care of yourself?”
Self-wellness is important at any stage of a relationship. Especially in the matter of abusive relationships, it is easy to forget about keeping yourself healthy and happy. Taking care of yourself may be as simple as eating a good breakfast to prepare for the day or getting enough sleep at night. Advocates often suggest writing in a journal, reading a good book or taking a bubble bath to ease your mind.
“Let’s brainstorm together.”
Whether you are deciding how to communicate better with your partner, planning on leaving the relationship or finding things that you can do to feel safe, there is always more than one right answer and an advocate can help you sort through the options to determine the best one for you.
“Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?”
Maybe over the course of your conversation with an advocate, you thought of another question you had or feel more comfortable asking something you were scared to ask before. Advocates are always available to answer your questions about healthy relationships and how to handle an unhealthy or abusive relationship, so don’t hesitate to ask.
We hope you’ll call or chat us if you need us. An advocate is waiting to answer a call anytime, day or night at 1-866-331-9474 or you can send us a chat between 4pm and 2am.