How to Help a Friend or Loved One

What are signs that my friend may be abused?

  • There is evidence of injuries.
  • They have unusual or questionable explanations for black eyes, bruises or broken bones.
  • They frequently miss work.
  • Their partner shows an unusual amount of control over their life.
  • You notice changes in their children's behavior.
  • Their partner embarrasses or ridicules them in public.
  • Their partner blames them for the way they act or the things they say.

How can I help an abused friend?
If you know someone who is being abused, you can help them survive by showing you care. Let them speak confidentially about their situation and without judgment. You may be the only person with whom they feel comfortable.

Show you care by:

  • Listening to them
  • Believing them
  • Telling them it's not their fault. You can never make someone else hurt you.
  • Assuring them that they are not responsible for the abuse
  • Not minimizing their struggle
  • Not judging them
  • Not blaming them
  • Telling them they deserve to be safe. Physical violence in a relationship is never acceptable. Remind them that no one deserves to be abused.
  • Going over a safety plan with them
  • Helping them learn not to deny or minimize the abuse. If someone says, “It's really not that bad,” tell them that it is serious.
  • Letting them keep important papers and extra clothes at your house.
  • Helping when you can with transportation, child care, groceries, etc.
  • Assuring them that you are concerned about the abuse taking place in their relationship. There is no excuse for abuse. No one deserves to be abused. Domestic violence is a crime.

What you can say to your abused friend:

“I am afraid for your safety and life.”

“I am afraid for your children’s safety and lives.”

“It will only get worse.”

“You deserve better.”

“I will be there for you whenever you need me.”