One in four Canadians have attempted to help a friend leave an abusive partner, according to a new study from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
“The fact that a quarter of Canadians have tried to help a friend leave an abusive partner underscores the prevalence of violence in this country,” Anuradha Dugal, director of violence prevention at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, said in a statement.
“Abusive situations can foster feelings of self-doubt, self-blame and humiliation, but attempting to resolve it alone can pose a great threat to the safety and well-being of the victim.”
However, Sandra Diaz, a spokesperson with the foundation, told 680News on Tuesday that there’s a sliver of silver lining in this study.
“It’s actually a stat that gives us a lot of hope,” Diaz said.
“It’s a high number that a quarter of Canadians have tried to help someone leave an abusive relationship. That means that there are a quarter of Canadians out there that are stepping up and saying that they’re there to support women who are in need.”
Diaz said the most important thing a friend can do is listen and offer non-judgmental support.
The study also reveals that 55 per cent of those surveyed would first report physical abuse to police or other authorities, while 56 per cent of repondents would do so for sexual abuse.
Forty-three per cent of respondents said they are not confident that their HR department at work would believe them if they reported the abuse, while 31 per cent said they won’t report the abuse out of fear of their family and friends finding out.
The online survey was conducted March 21-22 among 1,009 Canadian adults.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s annual campaign to end violence against women, which ends on May 11, raises money for more than 445 shelters for abused women and their children, as well as violence prevention programs.
If you know a woman who is being abused, the Canadian Women’s Foundation offers the following advice:
- Be supportive
- Learn more about relationship violence
- Be aware of the risks
- Ensure your own safety
- Find resources
- Choose the right time and place
- Voice your concerns
- Be sensitive
- Put them in charge