I am worried about someone else
If you are worried that a friend or a family member may be experiencing domestic abuse you may be unsure of what to do or how to help. If you can do so safely, the first step is to reach out to them and let them know that you are there for them. Knowing someone is there can be really crucial in helping someone to start taking steps to get away from an abusive situation. Remember that they may not be ready to take any actions or to even talk about what is happening but you have still let them know that you are there and want to support them. They will remember that when they are ready. You can call us for advice on how best to support them and here are a few suggestions that might help:
- Try to be patient and remember, if they become defensive or angry they may be scared about what might happen if they tell anyone – threats around this are often made by abusers to stop someone from telling.
- When they are ready to talk listen to them and try your best not to judge or criticise and hear what they have to say.
- If they do tell you about the abuse they are experiencing believe them. This can be really hard if you also know the person who is being abusive and it is important not to say anything that sounds like you don’t believe them or blame them in some way.
- Tell them that no one deserves abuse, despite what they may have been told by their abuser and acknowledge their strength in speaking out.
- Support them and let them know you are worried about them but allow them to make their own decisions, including when to leave. Sometimes we can feel the need to take over and tell people what to do because we care and are worried about them.
- If you feel frustrated with them, hang on in there as abusers often isolate their victim from friends and family by causing conflict or division to prevent them from getting any support and to assert more control.
- Offer any practical support you are able to give and let them know you are always there to talk.
- If they are in immediate danger call 999
- Encourage them to get help and pass on details of our service. If they want help to make contact you can call us on their behalf with their consent.
- Think about your own safety and ensure that you do not put yourself in any danger. Also look after yourself, it can be very distressing to hear someone talk about the abuse they are experiencing.