Violence Against Women: A Site Dedicated to Providing Information and Resources for Health Care Providers & Survivors of Violence against Women Violence against Women
A site dedicated to providing information and resources for health care providers as well as survivors of violence

Health Care Providers > Role of Health Professionals > Psychological First Aid

Providing Psychological First Aid to Survivors of Violence

Validating the woman's experience and believing in her goes a long way in providing emotional support.


You should never be judgmental or ask her why she was beaten as this puts the onus upon her, making her feel that it is her fault.


Acknowledge that it must be very difficult for her to live in a violent home, but assure her that she is not alone and that help is available.


Convey to her that violence is not her fault and that every person has the right to live a life free of violence.



Some steps to keep in mind while responding to survivors of violence 

-Greet the patient by name. Use her preferred name. Make her your central focus.

- Introduce yourself to the patient and tell her your role, i.e. physician, nurse, health worker.

- Have a calm demeanor. A victim who has been frightened and had experienced fear wants to be in the company of people who are not frightened.

- Don't express shock or disbelief at the narration as that may stop the woman from divulging any more details

- Be unhurried. Give time.

- Maintain eye contact.

- Be empathetic and non-judgmental as your patient recounts her experiences.

- Avoid using victim-blaming statements such as "What did you think would happen?" or "You should have known better."

- Women who will come to you may have feelings of denial or guilt and self blame. When you notice the women is in denial you can respond by saying: I believe you but however, it is possible that you or somebody you know might find themselves in a violent situation, I will be here, if you ever need me.

- When a woman is blaming herself for what happened you can respond by saying: You are not to blame for what happened to you. The person who assaulted you is responsible for the violence.


Women facing violence may often find life worthless and hopeless, they may not tell you in so many words that they feel like ending their lives. As a provider, it is important to assess if she feels this way and then reach out to her, in order to deal with such feelings. If a patient does express that she has been thinking about attempting suicide, please refer her to a counsellor. Some things that you can do to address suicide ideation are listed in the section Preventing Suicide.


Events | News Updates | Forum | Contact Us Violence Against Women: A Site Dedicated to Providing Information and Resources for Health Care Providers & Survivors of Violence against Women Violence against Women CEHAT is a research centre of Anusandhan Trust. We are involved in research, training, service and advocacy on a variety of public health issues. © 2017 CEHAT. All Rights Reserved - Website Design and Development by Wordcraft. This website is best viewed at Screen Resolution 800x600 and Text Size Medium, IE 5+