Is There A Healthy Way To Respond To Reports Of Abuse?

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Abuse is an unfortunate reality of our world. Some people will take advantage of others for their own gain, both financially and emotionally. And that’s a problem. 

But what are non-abusive people supposed to do about it? Is there a healthy way to respond? 

Start With The Facts

Whenever you suspect abuse, you should start with the facts, as professional nursing home abuse lawyers do. Ideally, you should collect as much information as possible from everyone involved to get a sense of what’s going on. Sometimes, what seems like abuse is just normal behaviour. But other times, it can be subtle and damaging. 

If you have a line manager, go to them as soon as possible. Present them with the evidence that you have and tell them about your concerns. Once you do that in a work setting, it becomes their responsibility to deal with the issue. It is not your job to sort out the problem if it is workplace-related. 

Follow A Formal Procedure

If you suspect abuse of your child, a parent or somebody else you know, the next step is to follow any formal procedures that might be in place. If it’s a legal matter, first log your complaint with the police, then go to a lawyer who deals with abuse issues for further advice. Usually, the first session is free and they can tell you whether you have a case or not. 

In some cases, you may have a legal duty to report the incident. If so, tell the police and then provide all the information that you can to the relevant key worker. 

Provide The Victim With Support

There are lots of ways that you can support the victim healthily. Here are some of your options: 

  • Listen to them if they want to talk about their experiences. You don’t have to provide any advice or give them any feedback. Just listening to what they say on the phone can help. 
  • Help them get the medical help they need. If appropriate, collect prescriptions for them or provide transport to the doctor’s office. 
  • Provide them with information on their rights. Sometimes, people don’t know about the legal options available to them under the law. 
  • Provide support and emotional counselling for them, especially if they appear highly distressed after the experience
  • Help them gain access to advocacy services: people who will fight on their behalf to ensure that they get justice
  • Support for the alleged perpetrators, particularly if they appear distressed by the allegations (sometimes abusive people can fabricate allegations maliciously). 

Maintain Confidentiality

In cases of abuse, it is critical to maintain the confidentiality of all parties. By collecting information and passing it to the relevant people discreetly, you protect both the victim and the perpetrator, both during investigations and afterwards. 

Don’t talk about the issue with other people, including those you trust. When mentioned, move the topic onto something else, unless speaking with somebody formally involved in the process. 

In summary, responding to abuse is always a challenging tightrope to walk. Throughout it all, your priority should be to protect the person on the receiving end of any harm. 

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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