How to respond in a helpful manner

By Erin Norris

Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2017

We have all at some point in our life experienced personal hardship and adversity.  For many of us we doubt our ability in how to support a relative, friend or co-worker when they find themselves in a crisis.  The uncertainty of whether we should get involved is often compounded by our hesitation of knowing, what can we do to help?  It is not because we do not care, it is more often mistrust in our own knowledge of what someone is experiencing.

This is particularly true of Domestic Violence, especially if it is happening within the workplace.  You know and “feel” something isn’t right.  You have seen warning signs.  Your co-worker is often late for work, or missing work, they avoid you, you have observed small bruises, you sense emotional stress.  It is reported (Stats Canada) that 1 in 3 workers experience emotional abuse in the form of stalking by text or phone, and harassing at the workplace itself.  Often employers will see a decline in job performance due to workers feeling anxious, fatigued and fearful of losing their employment.

There are ways in which you can support a co-worker, family and friends who are experiencing domestic violence.  Listen without judgement, blame or criticism. Verbalize you believe them and reaffirm they are not responsible for the abuse they are experiencing.

Once you have established their trust you are in a better position to advocate and encourage them to seek out the following resources:

 1) Bernadette McCann House: call the 24/7 Crisis/Support Line at 613-732-3131 or visit the website at  All services are free of charge.

 2) Pour les femmes Francophones; Fem’aide, 1-877-336-2433,  Fem’aide offre aux femmes d’expression française aux prises avec la violence sexiste, du soutien, des renseignements et de l’aiguillage vers les services appropriés dans leur collectivité 24 heures par jour, sept jours par semaine. 

3) – this resource is funded by the government of Ontario and has a wealth of information and resources for employees and employers.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, contact our Crisis/Support Line anytime at 1-800-267-4930 or 613-732-3131.