How to Help a Friend
If you know someone who is being abused, here’s what you can do to help:
- Be there for them, and don’t judge them. Listen without giving advice, unless it is asked for. Believe what he or she is telling you.
- Don’t pressure your friend to break up with his or her partner, and don’t put the partner down. This may drive your friend away from you when he or she needs you most.
- Acknowledge your friend’s confused feelings. Don’t tell your friend how he or she should feel. Recognize that it is still possible to love someone who hurts you.
- Let them know you are concerned for their safety. Encourage your friend to get help. Offer to help him or her find a counselor they can trust. Offer to go with your friend to the counselor.
- Get written information on relationship abuse, and share it with your friend. Information is available at www.liadv.org.
- Don’t make victim-blaming statements like, “You’re stupid to stay with him” or “Why do you let her treat you this way?” This will not help your friend, and might make them shut down on you.
- Don’t ever place conditions on support. Let your friend know you will support them no matter what their decisions are.
- Allow your friend to make his or her own decisions and respect those decisions, even if you don’t agree with them. Remember, you are not in the situation, you are only an observer.
- Refer your friend to our 24-hour hotline, and offer to sit with them while they make the call.