Report on Giving, Recieving and Seeking Help

Report on Giving, Recieving and Seeking Help
01 Mar 2010

This aim of this research is to understand help giving and receiving behaviours in the context of family violence. In particular the research aims to understand the attitudes and behaviours relating to the willingness, confidence and capacity to give and/or receive help. Areas of particular focus include what action people can take to prevent family violence; where along the continuum of family violence can or should people act; what are the signs of family violence; what are the opportunities to take action; where it is hard to take action and why; what might make it easier; what offering help looks like and what interventions make it easier to give and receive help.

A further focus of this research is to identify conditions that encourage help giving and receiving, particularly to understand what motivates someone to take action to prevent or stop family violence; to understand people’s willingness, confidence and capacity to give and/or receive help; to understand what help people want or need to take action to prevent family violence; how and where they could access help; what help do those at risk of, or currently experiencing, family violence want or need; how and where would they access help and what makes someone ready to accept help.

Lastly, this research aims to identify barriers that prevent help giving and receiving, particularly to understand what prevents someone from taking action to prevent or stop family violence and to understand what prevents someone from receiving help.

Key Results

Effective support increases the victim’s and the perpetrator’s belief in self and sense of agency:

  • Victims and perpetrators want to access support from their whānau, family and friends.
  • Whānau, family and friends are very important and play a highly influential role.
  • Social support (friends and family in particular) plays an important part in increasing self efficacy and supporting change.

Readiness to receive help is important for both victims and perpetrators.

  • There is a disjuncture between the ‘mental picture’ of a perpetrator and the vision that perpetrators have of themselves (or in the case of victims/survivors, the vision they have of their partners).
  • Victims and perpetrators do not seek help out of fear, shame, guilt and embarrassment.
  • Help seeking is deferred when victims and perpetrators feel that they can sort the situation out ‘on their own’.
  • In general, fear stops victims seeking help; they fear that talking about it will make the violence worse.
  • Perpetrators have a desire for respect (as a Dad and a partner) that stops the men admitting they have a problem with violence.
  • Both victims/survivors and perpetrators normalise violence and so are not ready to accept help.

In a crisis, effective help is noticing and acting. Failure to recognise that violence is occurring is one of the primary obstacles to intervention. In general, effective help involves:

  • being proactive – taking notice, looking for the signs and asking.
  • being reactive – if asked for help, providing it.
  • telling others who are prepared to act.

There is currently a disjuncture between help offered and effective help.

  • The help currently offered to victims/survivors does not work well.
  • The help is often controlling or disempowering.
  • The help currently offered to perpetrators only works well when they are ready to accept help. Before this, offers of help do not register.
  • Help is largely asked for, offered and heard at a time of crisis.
  • Helpers give or offer help because they believe that they have something to offer; that their help will make a difference; or that they have a moral obligation to intervene.
  • Many people are willing to help but help offered is ineffective.

Social supports fail where whānau, family, friends and communities:

  • tolerate violence
  • withdraw or ignore violence
  • blame the victim for the violence.

Positive change happens when someone offers effective support.

  • Every person who made changes had someone on their side who believed in them and supported them.
  • One person was often enough to make the difference, however, the more points of support the better.
  • It appears one person (influencer) ‘making a stand’ against violence can act as a catalyst for change and attract others to join them.
  • Displeasure and challenges from a number of whānau members can influence a positive change in perpetrators’ behaviour.
Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018