When someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, it can be very difficult and confusing to know what you can do to support them. This B.L.O.S.S.O.M. acronym can help you to support a victim/survivor of abuse, especially if they’re not quite ready to leave the relationship. If you need more ideas or support for yourself, you can call Nova Vita and speak with a shelter worker.
- Believe – Believe the victim/survivor and their experience.Believe that they might be afraid. Believe that barriers to leaving exist. Don’t blame the victim/survivor for the abuse.
- Listen – Listen to the victim/survivor’s story. You may be the first person they’ve told or the only one. Validate their feelings and listen without judgement.
- Options – Provide the person with options. Don’t tell them what to do. Let them decide what’s best. The victim/survivor is the expert of their own life.
- Support – Support the person in whatever way you can, even if it’s just listening. Support the decisions they make. Focus on their strengths.
- Safety Plan – Help the victim/survivor think of a safety plan “just in case”. Offer to keep info or belongings at your place, if you can. Develop a code word for help so you know to call police if they use that word.
- Offer Resources– Know the resources and services in your community that can help and share them with the victim/survivor when they’re ready.
- Maintain Respect – Be non-judgmental and respect their choices. Appreciate that this is a difficult process for the victim/survivor. Let them set the pace. Don’t expect them to leave a relationship when they’re not ready.
*adapted from N.Dobler, Interval House of Hamilton 2011