If someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can help by showing your concern and offering your support.

You can help by…

  • Listening, expressing concern and believing what your friend tells you.
  • Avoiding any questions or statements that blame the victim, such as:

“What did you do?”

“Why don’t you just leave?”

“You’re crazy for putting up with it.”

“Don’t you care about your kids?”

“How many times have you gone back?’

“Why do you stay?”

“You should have known better.”

  • Making concrete statements that help empower your friend:

“I’m concerned about your safety.”

“I’m concerned about your children’s safety.”

“You deserve a better life.”

“You are not crazy, your feelings are normal in this situation.”

“Violence is never justified.”

“You don’t deserve to be abused, no matter what.”

  • Never putting down the abuser. This may push the victim away.
  • Allowing your friend to express ambivalent feelings about the abuser. Acknowledge that it’s still possible to love someone even though that person is hurting you.
  • Offering information about relationship abuse, including pamphlets and hotline numbers.
  • Offering to go with your friend to get help from a counselor.
  • Allowing your friend to make his or her own decisions. Do not tell your friend what to do or pressure him or her to break up with the abuser.
  • Calling the police if you witness an assault.
  • NEVER placing conditions on your support.