Helping a Friend Break the Cycle

If you know someone who is being abused, you can help her by showing you care. Let her speak confidentially about her situation and without judgment. You may be the only person with whom she feels comfortable. Show you care in these ways:

  • Listen to her
  • Believe her
  • Do not minimize her struggle
  • Do not judge her
  • Do not blame her
  • Assure her that she is not responsible for the abuse
  • Tell her it's not her fault. You can never make someone else hurt you
  • Give her a toll-free crisis line number for domestic violence victims
  • Direct her to resources in her community for victims of domestic violence
  • Let her keep important papers and extra clothes at your house
  • Help when you can with transportation, child care, groceries

Tell her she deserves to be safe. Physical violence in a relationship is never acceptable. Remind her that no one deserves to be beaten.

Help her learn not to deny or minimize the abuse. If she says, "It's really not that bad," tell her it is serious.

Assure your friend that violence in her home does concern you. There is no excuse for abuse. No one deserves to be abused. Domestic violence is a crime.

How do I know if my friend is being abused?

  • Have you seen evidence of injuries?
  • Have you accepted her explanations for her black eyes, bruises or broken bones?
  • Does she miss work frequently?
  • Does her partner show an unusual amount of control over her life?
  • Have you noticed changes in her or her children's behavior?
  • Does her partner embarrass or ridicule her in public?
  • Does her partner blame her for the way he acts or the things he says?

Five things to say to your abused friend

  1. I am afraid for your safety/life.
  2. I am afraid for your children’s safety/lives.
  3. It will only get worse.
  4. You deserve better.
  5. I will be there for you when and if you ever need me.

Six things you can do for your friend

  1. Focus on her strengths. Give her the emotional support to know she is a good person.
  2. Read about domestic violence. Learn the stories of other victims, so you can help your friend understand she is not alone.
  3. Encourage her to develop a safety plan, to think of ways to escape quickly.
  4. Help when you can with transportation, child care, groceries.
  5. Consider volunteering for your local shelter program.
  6. Be patient. It takes time to bring about change. There are many barriers. Your friend has many decisions to make.