It can be hard to know how to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse. Our first instinct may be to protect her, but intervening directly can be dangerous for you and her. However, there are ways you can support her.
If you have spotted any of the signs of domestic abuse, reaching out to your friend is the first step. Leaving a violent partner is a process, not a single act. It takes, on average, seven attempts before a woman is able to leave for good.
Remember: if you see or hear an assault, or you are worried your friend might be in an emergency situation, you can call the police on 999.
Make sure you speak in private. Make it clear you won’t judge. Only then will she feel safe enough to open up.
Try “You haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? Is everything OK at home?”
Women are often dismissed. They’re told he seems like a nice guy, or a great dad. Trust what she says.
Your friend might blame herself. Tell her nothing she could do justifies abuse. He alone is responsible.
Don’t ask why she hasn’t left or judge her choices. Instead, build her confidence and focus on her strengths.
She may have been deliberately isolated. Say you are there for her, and that there are solutions.
Reassure her about what it's like to call us. Help her find out about her rights and options.
It might take several tries before she confides in you. Be patient. Recognising the problem is the first step.
It takes huge courage to leave someone who controls and intimidates you. Leaving a violent partner is a process; women often attempt to leave several times before making the final break. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a woman; it is important your friend seeks specialist support if she is planning to leave.Learn about the barriers to leaving
It is better for the woman to contact us directly. You can empower her by explaining who we are and what it’s like to call us.Getting in touch