How You Can Help Victims of Domestic Violence

If you know someone in an abusive relationship, there are ways you can help.

Listen: If possible, find a time and place that is safe and confidential to talk to your friend/family member. Start the conversation by expressing concern, i.e. “I am worried about your safety.” Allow your friend/family to speak and let them know you believe what they are telling you.

Offer support: Let them know they are not alone and that no one deserves to be hurt. Abuse is not the victim’s fault. Assure them what they are feeling is okay. Then, ask how you can best support them.

Provide resources: Encourage them to reach out to community resources. Connect them with crisis hotlines, support groups, Domestic Violence shelters, mental health services, or anything else they may need.

Help safety plan: Make a safety plan with your friend/family. See our safety planning page.

Respect their choices: Do not pressure them into leaving. It is never as simple as just leaving. There are many reasons people stay in an abusive relationship. Offer them support and resources, but ultimately know it is their decision. Do not be judgmental or make them feel bad for staying in an abusive relationship. Let them know you will be there for them no matter what choice they make.

Remember, you are there to support your loved one, not to rescue or save them.

Want to learn more about domestic violence? You can see our educational presentation topics here. To schedule a presentation on DV 101 for your school, workplace, or organization, click here.