If your friend or loved one has disclosed they are being mistreated or abused, this is a positive sign that they may want help.
They may feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about who you might tell.
Reassure them it is not their fault and they are not to blame.
Reassure them they are not alone, it happens to many people.
They may not tell you everything as they may have been told they are imagining it, no-one will believe them, they are mentally ill etc.
Remind your friend or loved one of their good qualities and that it takes great strength and courage to survive domestic abuse, to help maintain their self-esteem.
Don’t tell them that they have to end the relationship – they may not be ready for this yet.
If there are children in the home, they will probably be witnessing much of the abuse. You may want to make a referral to Social Services for help – you can call them anonymously if you just want to talk it through and get advice.
Don’t tackle the abuser yourself, it could put you at risk and increase the risk to your friend or loved one.
Keep yourself safe.
They may not recognise it as abuse, particularly if they have experienced it before or grown up in an abusive home.
Keep in touch with them wherever possible to prevent them from becoming more isolated. Don’t give up on them.
Tell them you are concerned for them but you will support their choices.
Try not to judge your friend or loved one – they really need you. Try not to be frustrated when they don’t take action or leave and then return – this is very common. Many people leave abusive relationships several times before it finally ends.
Help them to identify the support they can have from others (from friends, family and support agencies) when they are ready to do something about it.
Be clear that there is nothing your friend/loved one can do to stop the other person being abusive; the abuser must take responsibility for their behaviour and want to stop. This usually requires professional help over a significant period of time.
Acknowledge how difficult and confusing it must be if they still love the abuser.
Find out information for them – let them know you have the information when they are ready to look at it. You could find out about local specialist domestic abuse agencies, information to help them recognise they are being abused, find out if there are local Solicitors who could give free initial advice or research websites for information.
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