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If Someone You Know is in an Abusive Relationship

There are many ways that you can help someone in your life who is being abused. Here are some of the ways you can help:

Set up a time to talk

Try to make this a private spot, where you can talk openly and won’t get interrupted or distracted.

Let them know that you are concerned about them

Be honest with them. Tell them about times when you were worried about them, and help them see that what they are going through is not right. Most of all, let them know that you want to help.

Be supportive

Listen to what your friend/loved one has to say. This might be an issue that is very hard to talk about, but remind them that they are not alone in dealing with their abuse.

Offer specific help

Maybe you can help with transportation, help watch their children, bring them to appointments, just listen, etc.

Don’t place shame, blame or guilt on your friend/loved one

Rather than say “you need to leave,” try saying something like “I get scared thinking about what might happen to you.” Let them know that you understand their situation is very difficult.

Help them make a safety plan if necessary

Safety planning might include making a safe packing list (identification information, important papers, money, keys, ways to communicate, medications, keepsakes), making a plan regarding when to leave and where to go and how to deal with emergencies.

Encourage them to talk to someone who can help

Helpful people might be: Hotlines, a counselor, lenders, the police, court.

Even if they decide to stay in the relationship, continue to be supportive

It might be hard to understand, but your friend may stay in the relationship, or go back to their relationship many times. There might be many reasons for this; be supportive no matter what your friend decides to do.

If they decide to leave, continue to offer support

Although the relationship was abusive and unhealthy, your friend/loved one may still be sad about it ending and may be lonely. It is important to continue to support them during this process. It may also be necessary to help them reach out to community resources they may need.

Keep in mind that you can’t “rescue” or “save” your friend/loved one

He/she has to be the one to make the decision to leave the relationship in order for it to be successful.

Support them no matter what the decision.

Let your friend/loved one know that you will always be there, no matter what.

If you have questions on how to help an abused friend or family member, you can also call our Toll-Free, 24-Hour Hotline at 800-323-HOPE (4673).

Additional Information:

How To Help A Friend Who Is Being Abused
Safety Planning for Abusive Situations
Love is Respect: Help a Friend
Love is Respect: Is This Abuse?

Safety Exit