Abuse support groups. Help for victims of domestic violence.

The problem of domestic violence is one of the most pressing problems of the modern society, and its solution needs joint efforts of the whole segments of society. In this framework, information is exchanged between the public and government organizations in order to extirpate and prevent the domestic violence.

There are numbers of organizations that work in several directions: telephone consultation, educative programs on the issue of domestic violence, direct work with the victims, and social rehabilitation of the victims.

Abuse support groups are part of the rehabilitation program of the victims and provide services at all stages of the rehabilitation. The purpose of abuse support groups is to develop the capacity for self-development, self-regulation, self-change and self-improvement in a variety of situations. Psychological follow-up, which includes help and support, involves stimulation of independence in solving own problems.

During the meetings psychologists consider the personal experience of each participant faced with the domestic violence. Members of the abuse support groups discuss various topics such as:

  • Emotional, psychological and physical violence in the relationship;
  • Common myths about domestic violence;
  • Fear;
  • Ways to protect yourself;
  • Relations of the abuser and the victim;
  • The consequences of violence and how to overcome them.

Participants are usually women of all ages, each with own experience of relationship and different life conditions. Sharing their experiences and listening to each other. They not only provide support to other group members, but also get support from others, thereby finding a way to continue living, fighting for their own health, the health of their children and live in a safe and harmonious environment.

Effective social work of the abuse support groups are based on the following principles:

  1. Principle of safety of the group members, as the domestic violence carries a threat to the victims. In situations of domestic violence there is a high probability of death and suicide. Therefore, the meetings should be carried out in a safe place, in the absence of the abuser.
  2. The activities should be based on the principle of a mutual trust and respect of the object and subject of the social work, that is, the victim and a social worker. This requirement is determined by the specific nature of the problem and includes such aspects as confidentiality, resignation of the attempt to change the victim, and so on.
  3. Working with women affected by domestic violence must fall under the principle of non-judgment. It is necessary to fully take into account the version of the victim, without judging her actions and not to criticize her actions.
  4. The principle of independent decision making for the victim should be the main method of social work. A woman should not impose certain scenarios of the action, but should be offered different options and opportunities.

So, abuse support groups occupy a special place in the system of rehabilitation of the domestic violence victims, provide effective assistance to the victims, change public opinion to the problem of violence. Achievement of all the tasks is the result of the collaborative work of professional educators, psychologists, lawyers, and social work professionals.