Help for someone you care about
The chances are high that you may know a family member, colleague or friend who is experiencing abuse behind closed doors. There are some basic steps that you can take to assist them or anyone you know who confides in you that they are experiencing domestic abuse.
How you can help
- Listen to them, try to understand and never blame them. Tell them that they are not alone and that there are many people like them in the same situation.
- Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse. Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to go into too much detail if they would prefer not to.
- Acknowledge that they are in a frightening and extremely difficult situation.
- Tell them that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser has told them. Nothing they can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.
- Support them. Encourage them to communicate their feelings, whatever they are. Allow them to make their own decisions.
- Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they is not ready to do this. This is their decision.
- Ask if they have suffered physical harm. If so, offer to go with them to a hospital or to see a GP.
- Assist them in reporting the assault to the police if they choose to do so.
- Provide information on organisations that offer help to abused people and their children and explore possible options with them. Tell them about our Domestic Abuse Referral and Advice line on 020 8317 8273 or the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247, and how to access this website.
- Go with them to visit a solicitor if they are 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 them you will look after an emergency bag for them, if they 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.