You are here:

Domestic abuse - are you concerned about someone?

Clicking the EXIT button on the right will allow you to leave this page quickly and return to Google and the BBC Weather pages, although your browser may show this page in your history.

To read more about keeping safe please go to Women's Aid  - Cover Your Tracks Online

When supporting someone experiencing abuse, never put yourself in danger. 

It is not always easy to know how to how to support a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic abuse. But you can make a difference. Recognising the abuse and being there for someone is an important first step.

They may be feeling shame, guilt or even believe that the abuse is their fault. They may be concerned about their children or a family pet, or the threat of harm against them. They may fear that they are alone and have no support or have been told that no one will believe them.

Here are some basic steps you can take: 

  • Do not be afraid to talk to someone who you think needs help. Try to be direct, tell them you are worried about them and concerned for their safety and want to help – please make sure it is safe for them to talk and take their lead in this. The abuser may be tracking their phone or have access to their messages/phone calls. Try and meet up in a private space away from the abuser.
  • Offer reassurance that that the abuse is not ‘normal’ and not their fault. No one deserves to be hurt, threatened, or controlled and that abusive behaviour can never be justified
  • Don’t tell a person experiencing abuse to leave or criticise them for staying. It is important that your friend/family member feels able to talk to you even if they stay in the relationship
  • Give them time to open up. It takes a great deal of strength to trust someone enough to confide in them about experiencing abuse. Please do not give up on them if they backtrack, it usually takes several attempts for someone to seek support, it is important that your friend/family member knows you are they when they are ready to talk.
  • Abusers often isolate their victims from friends and family. Help your friend/family member develop and/or sustain contact with other people. This can help to boost self-esteem
  • Support your friend/family member to engage with support services who can tailor a service to their needs. Please don’t force them to get support if they do not feel ready, or safe enough to do so.
  • Offer to go with them to see the GP or go to hospital if they disclose physical or sexual abuse, and if they feel able to do so.
  • Do not put yourself in a dangerous situation by offering to talk to the abuser. It will only make the situation worse for the person being abused
  • Be patient. It can take time for a person to recognise they are being abused and even longer to make safe decision about what to do.
  • Make a Clare’s Law Disclosure, if you fear that your friend/family member may be at risk of domestic abuse.