Overview of the Issue: How can I get her to see that she needs to leave?
This is the wrong question!
You should not make getting a victim to leave her partner the goal of counseling. Her goals are what matters, not yours. If you pressure her to leave, she will feel – and rightly so – that you don’t understand the danger she is in or the obstacles she faces.
Don’t make getting her to leave the goal of counseling.
Things to understand about the issue of leaving:
- Leaving is a process that takes time – often a lot of time. It also requires two things many victims lack: money and support from others.
- Victims often decide to stay with abusive partners because of practical concerns about safety, economics and children, not just because of internal, psychological factors.
- Leaving often does not end the abuse and may actually add to her danger.
- Many abusers stalk, threaten and harass partners who have left them.
- Many pursue long divorce and custody battles, bankrupting their ex-partners and often successfully depriving them of their children.
- Most women who are murdered by abusive partners have recently separated from them.
- However, if your client does want to leave her abusive partner, help her in any way you can. This may include helping her to:
- Find needed resources (money, housing, childcare, etc.).
- Connect with a domestic violence service provider, whether or not shelter is what she needs – victims can use domestic violence services without going into shelter.
- Reconnect with friends, family and other sources of support and understanding