Supporting a friend or relative who is experiencing Domestic Abuse

In an emergency situation always call 999.

But if you need to report a crime that happened in the past; such as criminal damage, physical violence or sexual violence call the Police on 101.

Talking to your friends and family

Our recent domestic abuse survey in Portsmouth showed us that 75% of people would ask if they thought that someone was experiencing abuse and of the 40% of people who were in abusive relationships, the majority talked to their friends or family.

If you think a friend, family member or colleague is experiencing abuse in a relationship, make sure that you tell them you are concerned. Here are some ways to help:

  • try telling them that you’re concerned about them
  • say why you are worried about them
  • let them know it is not their fault and that domestic abuse can happen to anyone
  • ask if they want to talk to you about their relationship
  • don't tell them what to do but reassure them that help is available
  • help them to explore their options, but always consider their safety (see below)
  • let them know you want to help.
  • remember you don’t have to have all the answers

Always prioritise safety – yours and theirs

The abuser won’t appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it – Always ring 999 if there is immediate danger.

Support them in whatever decision he or she is currently making about their relationship, while being clear that the abusive behaviour is wrong. Remember, what you are trying to do is be supportive, not to make them feel judged.

Remember It’s not always easy to leave a relationship as your friend may still love their partner, own a home with them or have children with them. We have a guide to accessing support through the courts which can be downloaded or viewed on the right of this page.

Stay in contact over time and help your friend, family member or colleague to explore what choices are on offer. Try to focus on their safety rather than the abuser or the relationship, especially as the abuser will often blame the victim for the problems.

Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault and that you are there for them. Remind them of their strengths, challenge them if they put themselves down or blame themselves, praise them for every step they take and let them know they have your support.

Talk to them about other support available including Portsmouth City Council's domestic abuse team, the police and other information services such as Citizens Advice or other professionals. Employers can also be a good source of support and should be helpful if told about the situation. It may be that your friend will need time off for appointments or extra support to arrange childcare. 

Portsmouth Domestic Abuse Service

Portsmouth City Council have a team of specialist domestic abuse workers who can support those over 16 years old who are suffering domestic abuse, honour-based violence and sexual violence within the Portsmouth area. It provides a number of services within the City to ensure that clients have access to the right support at the right time

You can call them on 02392 688 472 for advice and support.

Tags: Domestic Abuse, Domestic Abuse Portsmouth, Domestic Abuse Services

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