Domestic violence is any form of abusive behaviour of one partner toward another. It can be mental or physical abuse; but regardless of the type of domestic violence, it can cause serious consequences to the victims. According to the National Violence against Women Survey in 2000, “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.” Because of all the domestic violence occurring, there are many organisations and foundations that offer support group activities to help counsel victims of domestic abuse.
One service offered to victims of domestic violence is group counselling services. These group sessions allow individuals to share their inner feelings with others that are going through the same experiences. Victims lean on each other for support, advice, guidance and encouragement. Group sessions are practised by most domestic violence service groups.
Another group service offered to victims of domestic violence is prevention education. These education classes work to build the self-esteem and self-confidence of victims to help them realise it is not necessarily their fault for being victimised. Nonviolent negotiating techniques are introduced during these classes to help victims learn to negotiate effectively. Individuals are also taught conflict resolution techniques to help minimise escalated arguments hoping, in turn, to reduce the recurring domestic violence situations.
Domestic violence support group activities also involve educating victims about available community resources. There are local shelters that will allow victims to leave abusive relationships and have a safe place to stay. Family resources are also available to aid victims with children. All of these resources are discussed by counsellors and community volunteers during these group sessions and, many times, victims leave these sessions with accessible pamphlets and telephone numbers so that help is only a telephone call a way.
Role-playing is when fictitious scenes are acted out by individuals. It is another group activity practised during support group sessions. Victims are assigned a variety of different roles and could possibly include an abuser, a victim, a health care professional and possibly a counsellor. The scene is acted out, and then a counsellor spends time analysing the different scenes that were acted out helping each of the victims analyse how the events made them feel, what situations could have been handled differently and much more.