Monday, October 12, 2009

What Can I Do to Support Victims of Domestic Violence?

We are often asked this question. Folks are educated about domestic violence, learn about our program and feel compelled to do something. Here is a list of ideas that you can do for Renewal House or for another domestic violence program in your area. The list is a compilation of what our volunteers and churches do for the residents of our shelter.

  • Make welcome bags (with toiletries, wash cloth and towel) for an individual and/or family. Write a note for the bag indicating your hope for safety for the family/individual. Include a small toy or coloring book/crayons for children.
  • Knit a prayer shawl and donate to a shelter.
  • Host a supply drive for household cleaning supplies and/or gently used linens and kitchen items (it’s always best to call a shelter and find out what their particular needs are)
  • Host a discussion group on domestic violence, preferably with intergenerational representation to bring in all kinds of perspectives. You could invite an advocate from a local domestic violence program to attend the discussion and share information to get the conversation started.
  • Volunteer in a shelter (playing with children, for example, or mentoring adults).
  • Bring up domestic violence as a prayer concern during worship.
  • Host a shelter family or a group of families for dinner or an outing.
  • Confront sexist comments and jokes.
  • Sponsor a painting day at a local shelter.
  • Pick up food from the food bank and deliver to the shelter.
  • Volunteer to teach an ESL class.
  • Talk with your children about domestic violence and what a healthy relationship looks like.
    Celebrate White Ribbon Day on Valentine’s Day at your work or faith community. White Ribbon Day is a campaign calling for men to be allies in the effort to end domestic violence.
  • Be aware of legislation in your state that has to do with domestic violence and sexual assault and be sure you let your elected officials know this is an important cause for you and for your community.
  • Partner with a shelter and a community group/faith community to collect used furniture and other household items for the shelter or for shelter residents moving into their own housing
  • Plan and host a holiday activity (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) and have shelter residents/families be special guests.
  • Bring up domestic violence in conversations to indicate to friends and family that you are comfortable talking about it.
  • Pray for victims of domestic violence, the batterers and children.
  • Have a quilting group make quilts for children in the shelter.
  • Host a kitchen/bathroom shower for a shelter.
  • Host a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of domestic violence in your community.
  • Contact your local domestic violence shelter and ask how you can get involved.

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