Listen for the person's coping strategies and resources.

  • Ask specific questions about coping and self care-what activities, places, or people can and/or have functioned as an oasis for them? Is it possible to build on those experiences?
  • What has the person done in the past to manage the abuse and what was the outcome?
  • As the person tells her or his story, acknowledge the ways he or she has shown courage, resourcefulness, or strength. Note, for instance, how remarkable it is that, in spite of the abuse and how they might be feeling, they get up in the morning, take care of their children as well as they do, hold down a job, maintain friendships, or any "every day thing" the individual accomplishes.
  • Acknowledge how much courage and strength it is taking to talk with you about their situation.
  • Ask specific questions about support people-does anyone in the individual's life know about the violence? Identify a community of people who can support the person's safety. If they can think of no one, ask if they can identify one trusted person with whom they could begin to talk about their situation.
  • When it is feasible, work with the individual on a plan to further develop the strengths that have been identified.