It can be very upsetting to see someone you know stuck in an abusive relationship.
If you are worried about someone you can call one of the helplines on the Getting Help section of this website. The button is below. The support services will listen to you and suggest ways in which you could help your friend or relative.
Here are a few tips they could give you:
- See your friend on their own (not with their partner) as often as you can and make sure that they know you are there for them.
- Listen to them, try to understand and take care not to blame them.
- Try telling them that you are worried about them, say why you are worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it.
- Never approach or challenge the abuser -this could put someone in more danger.
- Find out about where your friend can go for help and where to find more information – not so that you can tell your friend what to do, but so that you can help them to decide for themselves.
- Offer to go with them to see the doctor or solicitor or to make a report to the police.
- Try to help your friend to feel good about themselves. If their partner has been undermining them, their self esteem may be low.
- Let them know how much you care about them or tell them how much you appreciate their company – you know best what your friend might like to hear.
- Try to arrange social occasions that involve your friend without their partner, but without doing this obviously.
- Be aware that the abuser may try to undermine you and isolate your friend from any support network, for example the abuser might make it very difficult for your friend to go out or be rude t you if you visit.
- Always prioritise safety – yours and theirs. The abuser won’t appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it. Have a look at the Safety Plan.
What to say if you are supporting someone who is being abused:
“It’s wrong and it’s not your fault – you don’t deserve this, no-one should have to feel afraid of their partner or ex.”
“It’s illegal for your partner or ex-partner to do this.”
“You (or your children or neighbours) can always call 999 in an emergency or the police station or a domestic violence unit.”
“If you want, you can leave now, whether it’s for a break or for good – there are refuges you can go where you’ll be safe, or you can stay with a friend or relative.”
“Whatever you decide to do, you can always talk to me. I do care what happens.”