Help for a Friend / Family Member
You cannot ‘rescue’ your friend. It can be hard watching as someone you care about gets hurt but only the person experiencing the abuse can decide that they want to do something about it. It’s important for you to support them and help them find a way to safety and peace of mind. What you can do is:
Let them know that you are concerned for their safety.
• Tell your friend or colleague that you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help them recognize that what is happening is not normal and that they deserve a healthy, non-abusive relationship.
Acknowledge that he or she is in a very difficult and scary situation.
• Let your friend or family member know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure him or her that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there.
• Offer a listening ear. They need someone who believes them but it may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse.
• Try not to criticise your friend’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. They will need your support even more during those times. Even after they leave, or the relationship ends, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely. He or she will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship.
Help him or her to develop a safety plan.
• Encourage them to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Offer to go with them to talk to family and friends. If he or she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.