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Worried about someone else?

The chances are extremely high that someone you know, or close to you, may experiencing domestic abuse behind closed doors right now.

Sometimes it is very difficult to help someone unless they have been very open about their experiences. However, if you are worried, there are a few basic steps you can take to help your friend, colleague or family member to confide in you..


Just remember that if they don't want to talk the first time, don't give up on them.  You may not realise it, but you could be their only lifeline.

How you can help 

  • Listen to them, try to understand and take care not to blame them. Tell them that they are not alone and that there are many people like her in the same situation.

  • Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse. Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to go into too much detail if they don't want to.

  • Acknowledge that they are in a frightening and very difficult situation.

  • Tell them that no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser has told them. Nothing they can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.

  • Support them as a friend. Encourage them to express their feelings, whatever they are. Allow them to make their own decisions.

  • Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they are not ready to do this. This is their decision.

  • Ask if them have suffered physical harm. If so, offer to go with them to a hospital or to see their GP.

  • Help them to report the assault to the police if they choose to do so.

  • Be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help to abused people and their children. Explore the available options with them. 

  • Go with them to visit a solicitor if they are ready to take this step.

  • Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship.

  • Let them create their own boundaries of what they think is safe and what is not safe; don’t urge them to follow any strategies that they express doubt about.

  • Offer your friend the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and tell them you will look after an emergency bag for them, if they wants this.

  • Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.

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Only if  it is safe to do so, and you are able to speak to the person without the suspected perpetrator being there, you can ask them if they are experiencing domestic abuse. Be curious.

What is Domestic Abuse?

What to expect coming into refuge

What items should I bring

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