How to help a friend experiencing domestic abuse

Do you have a friend in an abusive relationship? Not sure what to do?

Read below for information about helping a friend experiencing domestic abuse.

It can be very difficult when you realise that somebody you care about is experiencing domestic abuse. Your friend may not have told you directly that she is experiencing domestic abuse. If this is case it can be very difficult to talk about the situation.

There are things that you can do in order to try and support your friend. Listen to her. She may feel that she is alone. It is important to stress to her that domestic abuse happens to women from all walks of life. It is important that she knows that the abuse isn’t her fault. The perpetrator of the abuse is always to blame; he chooses to act this way.

Support your friend, but allow her to make her own decisions. It is important to remember that within her relationship she may not have been able to make decisions for herself, so she is going to need some time.  You may have to accept that your friend is not yet ready to leave the relationship.

You could offer to go with your friend to report the domestic abuse to a GP, the police or a solicitor. Also there are local domestic abuse services based around the UK. You can find your friend’s nearest service by visiting our Women’s Aid Directory.

You could help your friend with a safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship. You can find further information about this on our Survivors’ Handbook. It is important to remember that she knows the perpetrator better than anyone, so it is important to respect her wishes.

It is also important that you look after yourself. It can be very difficult helping somebody through this situation. Your safety is also really important so do not allow yourself to be in a dangerous situation.

At Women’s Aid, we have a wide range of resources and services that can help. Visit our information and support page to view our wide range of resources, or visit our Survivors’ Forum and our Live Chat (open weekdays from 10am – 12pm).

For further links to websites and organisations who can provide you with information and support please click here.


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