It can be hard to know how to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse. Our first instinct may be to protect them, but intervening directly can be dangerous for you and them. However, there are ways you can provide support. If you have spotted any of the signs of domestic abuse, reaching out to your friend is the first step. Leaving a violent partner is a process, not a single act. It takes, on average, seven attempts before a woman is able to leave for good.

Its important that you don't make any decisions for them, A decision to leave should always be the person experiencing the abuse.

What can I do?

  • Create a safe space
  • Make sure you speak in private. Make it clear you won’t judge. Only then will they feel safe enough to open up.
  • Tell them that you’re worried.
  • Try “You haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? Is everything OK at home?”
  • Take them seriously. Listen. Believe them.
  • Tell them it’s not their fault
  • Your friend might blame themselves. Tell them nothing they could do justifies abuse. 
  • Don’t judge them.
  • Don’t ask why they haven’t left or judge their choices. Instead, build their confidence and focus on strengths.
  • Remind them that they're not alone.
  • They may have been deliberately isolated. Say you are there for them, and that there are solutions.
  • Encourage them to contact us.
  • Reassure them about what it's like to call us. Help them find out about their rights and options.
  • Give them time.
  • It might take several tries before they confides in you. Be patient. Recognising the problem is the first step.

Information provided by Refuge. 


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