Someone I Know Is In an Abusive Relationship. What Can I Do?

When you realize that someone in your life is in an abusive or controlling relationship, it can be hard to know how to help.

Maybe you worry that it is too private or it isn’t your business. Perhaps you have a good reason to be suspicious, but you don’t have any evidence to confirm that what you suspect is real. Or maybe you’ve tried telling the victim to leave and they get angry with you instead.

How can you make a difference?How to Help - Woman Supporting Friend

Here are some ideas to help you move from being a bystander to being a source of support and information for the victim.

  • Identify the abusive behavior. Ex. “I’ve noticed how your partner ________ (pushes, grabs, yells, follows) you and I am worried.
  • Provide a safe space. Let them know you are here if they need to talk.
  • Believe and support them. Be there to listen, not to judge.
  • Offer support and validation. Let them know it is never their fault. Ex. “No one deserves to be treated this year.”
  • Provide options, not advice. Ex. “What works best for you?” instead of “This is what you need to do.”
  • Help them create a safety plan.
  • Call House of Ruth’s hotline from a safe place for resources or support. (Or provide the victim with our number).

House of Ruth’s 24-Hour Hotline: 1-877-988-5559