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Helping Someone Who's Being Abused

One in four women and one in four men will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. Many of us know or may learn of a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or student who is in an abusive relationship. When this happens, we may find ourselves faced with a serious dilemma: How can we safely help someone without intruding or embarrassing them? While there are no easy answers, here are tips for supporting someone in your life who may be experiencing abuse.

Safety First
Domestic violence is a serious crime and abusers can be unpredictable. Avoid unsafe situations and call 911 when danger seems imminent.

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes information and strategies to remain safe while in an abusive relationship, when planning to leave, or after you leave. Survivors are the experts in their own situation, and some of the information or suggested steps provided here may not be relevant to an individual survivor.

Download Safety Planning Guide

Reach Out
Privately and calmly voice your concerns about the relationship and specifically mention that you are worried about their safety. Discuss ways you may be able to help and let them know that you are there for support.

Listen
Your friend or family member may feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell you the whole truth. Help them feel comfortable talking to you by listening patiently. It is important to acknowledge their feelings and to be respectful of their decisions.

Give Support and Encouragement, Not Advice
Offer support and tell them you will be there, regardless of their decisions. Isolation is part of the abusive pattern. Offer to connect them with a local domestic abuse program.

Learn More About the Cycle of Violence & How You Can Help
Call or text Safe+Sound Somerset’s 24 Hour Domestic Abuse Hotline at 866-685-1122 for more information. Understanding the dynamics of the cycle of violence will help you to help others.