Staying connected to stay safe
Coercive control, a significant aspect of domestic violence, often includes isolating victims from their support networks. Perpetrators employ tactics that cut off access to friends, family, and workplace connections, making it incredibly difficult for victims to seek help or escape their abusive situation.
Staying connected to family, friends, the community, and the workplace is not just about building and maintaining relationships – it’s a powerful strategy to protect yourself and ensure your overall well-being. It acts as a shield against isolation and a means to make new friends.
Here are some ways you can maintain connections with the people around you and build a strong support network within your community.
1. School community
If you are a parent, your children’s school community can be a great place to build connections. Actively participating in school activities, such as supporting reading sessions or volunteering in the tuckshop or library, can offer opportunities to create valuable networks. Informal gatherings like playgroups can also provide parents with chances to interact, while bolstering their child's social development at the same time.
Exploring volunteering opportunities can be simpler than you might think. Organisations like Meals on Wheels, community centres, and Aged Care facilities often seek volunteers for various social activities. Reach out to Volunteering Queensland or local community centres to uncover opportunities to grow your network.
3. Local community events
Giving back to your community through local events can be a fulfilling way to stay engaged with your community. An online search for community events in your area allows you to get in touch with organisers and offer your assistance, reinforcing community ties.
4. The workplace
Economic security is very important when someone is looking to leave an unsafe situation. For those who are employed, your workplace can be a source of support and opportunity for you. Your job and career are valuable assets for your future well-being.
If you've been out of the workforce for a while, it might be easy to underestimate your skills. Recognise that your abilities, gained through education, personality traits, and experiences related to managing a household and caring for family and neighbours, are highly valuable.
In addition to maintaining external connections, self-care is equally important for your overall well-being. Here are some daily self-care practices that may seem simple, but can significantly reduce anxiety and help you maintain your wellness.
- Share your circumstances with trusted friends and family members to maintain supportive relationships.
- Engage in regular physical activity, even if it's as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking to speak with a colleague instead of emailing them.
- Find activities you enjoy to help you relax, such as going for a walk, practising yoga stretches, or using nearby gym or swimming facilities during your lunch break.
- Take a moment to reflect on what truly matters to you and prioritise your well-being.
Remember that you're not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate these challenging circumstances.