If you think that a friend or family member is being abused, the best thing you can do is to be there to give help and support. But it's also important to not to draw too much attention to how you are helping them as this can sometimes trigger more abuse if the abuser finds out.
How you can help:
- Listen, try to understand and take care not to blame. Tell them they are not alone and that others are in the same situation.
- Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse. Don’t push them to give you details and give them time to talk.
- Encourage them to express their feelings, whatever they are, and allow them to make their own decisions.
- Offer to go to the hospital or GP with them if they have been hurt or injured.
- Help them to report the abuse to the police if they choose to do so.
- Give them information about organisations that can help them and offer your phone or computer so that they can look on the relevant websites without risk of being caught.
- Help them make a safety plan if they choose to leave and keep things safe for them, like an emergency bag.
- Make sure that you look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Do not offer to talk to the abuser or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship. Be there for your friend or relative and offer as much support as you can but also make sure you do not put yourself at risk too.