If you are a friend of someone involved in an abusive or violent relationship, it can be hard to know what to say or do. Here are some things you can do if you have a friend who you think may be in an abusive relationship:
OBSERVE: If you see things in your friend’s relationship that worry you (see Warning Signs) talk to your friend about it.
LISTEN: Your friend needs someone to hear their story. They need someone who won’t judge, or try to take control, but will let them talk about their situation in confidence.
SUPPORT: Believe them. Help them to explore the choices they have, and trust them to make the decision that’s right for them.
ENCOURAGE: Suggest a trusted adult for them to talk to (school counsellor, teacher, parent). Offer to go with them.
PROTECT: Talk to your friend about avoiding risky situations, such as being alone with an abusive partner.
REASSURE: Tell your friend that no matter how complicated the situation may seem, they do not deserve to be abused, emotionally or physically. It’s not their fault.
HELP YOURSELF: Don’t put your own safety at risk. Confronting an abuser can sometimes make a bad situation worse.
BECOME INFORMED: Talk to an adult yourself about what you can do to support your friend. Phone a crisis line or a woman’s shelter. The trained staff can help you help your friend.