Help somone you care about
The chances are high that you may know a sister, mum, colleague, cousin or friend who is experiencing abuse behind closed doors. There are some basic steps that you can take to assist and give support to a friend, family member or anyone you know who confides in you that they are experiencing domestic abuse.
How you can help
- Listen to her, try to understand and never blame her. Tell her that she is not alone and that there are many women like her in the same situation.
- Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse. Give her time to talk, but don’t push her to go into too much detail if she’d prefer not to.
- Acknowledge that she is in a frightening and extremely difficult situation.
- Tell her that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.
- Support her. Encourage her to communicate her feelings, whatever they are. Allow her to make her own decisions.
- Don’t tell her to leave the relationship if she is not ready to do this. This is her decision.
- Ask if she has suffered physical harm. If so, offer to go with her to a hospital or to see her GP.
- Assist her in reporting the assault to the police if she chooses to do so.
- Provide information on organisations that offer help to abused women and their children and explore possible options with her. Tell her about our Domestic Abuse Referral and Advice line on 020 8317 8273 or the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) on 0808 2000 247, and how to access this website.
- Go with her to visit a solicitor if she is ready to do this.
- Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship.
- Offer your friend the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and tell her you will look after an emergency bag for her, if she would like this.
- Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Do not put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.