A battered women’s shelter is always a place where victims of household violence find the utmost comfort and escape from the harsh household situation they are in. However, no matter how far away women are from their abusive husbands, it is still not easy to live in the shelter. There are a lot of wounds that must be healed, experiences that must be forgotten, emotional situations that must be handled, and people that must be forgiven.
Though you can barely offer help, being a volunteer in their shelters can be too much of help from you already. The mere acts of supporting them, of listening to them, and of giving advice to them are more than enough to help them heal most wounds. So if you have this kind heart and willingness to be of help to battered women, here are some guidelines on how you can volunteer for their shelter:
- Know the services of battered women's shelters. Not all people can find it comfortable to work or be exposed in this kind of environment. Hence, study first the services being provided by the shelters. Then, decide whether you can be an effective volunteer in the long run.
- Double check your schedule. Though the shelter will not require most of your time, at least analyze your schedule. Check whether you can still manage to add volunteering to your schedule or not.
- Understand domestic violence. The people you will be dealing with in the shelter are all victims of domestic violence. They need your empathy and your advice when they begin to share their lives with you. Therefore, it will be of great help if you understand domestic violence and all that it entails. This way, you can understand the people in the shelter most likely making you an effective volunteer. Read some books on the topic. There are as well online articles and resources that you can use for this purpose.
- Contact battered women's shelters. Check out your local shelter to see whether they need volunteers or not. You can have their number from the phone directories or online yellow pages.
- Speak to the shelter' staff. The shelters are always careful about the people they hire as volunteers so they may subject you for interviews and background checks first. During the interview, explain your reasons of your desire to become a volunteer. Tell them about your special skills like counseling or nursing. Skills like this can add to your strengths as candidate for the volunteer position.
- Keep their information secret. Do not disclose any information provided by the shelter to anyone, even your family members. This is especially and strictly true for the shelter’s location. This is necessary so as to ensure the safety of all the women in there.
The life of battered women is definitely not easy. However, with your kind heart and your listening ears, it is possible that you can be a part of making their lives easier once again. Hence, if you have the time, the skills, and the desire to help them, consider becoming a volunteer in a domestic violence shelter.