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Safe Space for Relationship Help: Family Advocacy Program5 minute read • Nov. 29, 2022
It’s important to know where you can go for safe, judgment-free help when you are feeling unsafe in your relationship. Caring assistance is available through the Family Advocacy Program.
Everyone who experiences domestic abuse has a unique set of circumstances and concerns. Through your installation’s Family Advocacy Program, you can meet with a victim advocate who will have a deep understanding about the challenges of seeking help for domestic abuse. The role of a domestic abuse victim advocate is to be there for you, to hear you and to offer help and resources.
Find Support Today
Take care of yourself today by talking with a victim advocate, who can show you options you might not be aware of and provide the support you are seeking.
You’ll talk, we’ll listen
When you call (or visit) your Family Advocacy Program to reach a victim advocate, they will welcome you in.
Connect with a victim advocate through your local FAP office. You can decide how much of your story to share in the first conversation.
When you call to speak with a victim advocate, they will want to know if you are in a safe place to talk, and can discuss ways for you to maintain your safety as you seek information and support for your situation.
To help, your advocate will need to know what you’ve experienced. They will listen to you without judgment to find out what you have been through and what you want to happen going forward.
It may be difficult to talk about what you’ve experienced, but it will allow you to voice concerns about your relationship in a safe space. It may help to start by explaining a recent event or by talking about your experiences in a timeline of your relationship.
You have options, and we’ll explain them
The Family Advocacy Program offers victim-centered and victim-led assistance. Translation? Your victim advocate will never pressure you to make a decision you are uncomfortable with. You are in charge of your life and your choices.
You don’t have to be in a crisis to meet with a victim advocate — they can support you regardless of what stage you are at in your relationship. It is never too early to reach out to a victim advocate to ask questions and learn what help is available.
Make sure to tell your victim advocate what steps you’re ready to take, so they can provide informed support. By understanding your specific situation, they will get a better idea of how they can help. They will explain the options you have for reporting and support, after which you can choose what is best for you and your family.
If you decide to report domestic abuse, there are two military reporting options: restricted and unrestricted. Your victim advocate can explain these options in specific detail according to your situation. They can walk you through what each option would look like for you and your family to help you understand the difference and decide what works best for you.
You choose your path, we’ll provide the resources
Victims of domestic abuse come from different family situations and have different experiences and needs. Some may choose to stay in the relationship and try to work things out. Others may choose to leave the relationship. Whatever path you choose, your FAP victim advocate will provide you with the support you need.
Develop a relationship with your victim advocate
Remember that when you connect with your victim advocate, it doesn’t have to be a one-time conversation. They are there as long as you need them to help you find safety, support and healing. Through the Family Advocacy Program, your advocate will work with you to:
- Promote your safety, well-being and choices
- Access appropriate treatment for you and other affected family members
- Identify and build on your and your family’s strengths
- Increase protective factors to help reduce your risk of future abuse
- Connect with civilian resources and domestic violence programs
Specifically, your victim advocate can facilitate connections for you to receive assistance for things like finding immediate lodging, medical care, legal counsel, a job or a new home.
As you continue to meet with your victim advocate, ask them questions you may have forgotten about on your first visit. Let them know your concerns and fears so they can address those, too. Your advocate can work with you to create a plan for your future.
Think of talking to your victim advocate in the same way you would talk to a friend, only a friend who is removed from your situation and who has expertise in your area of need.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, find the victim advocate closest to you to learn your options and the resources available. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for 24/7 help in English, Spanish and more than 140 other languages. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
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Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, visit the 24/7 Family Advocacy Program Victim Advocate Locator or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800−799−7233.