Friend or relative in an abusive relationship?

If you think a friend, family member or colleague is in an abusive relationship, try telling them that you’re concerned, say why you’re worried and ask if they want to talk to you about it. Let them know you want to help. You don’t have to know all the answers, and the important thing is to break the isolation.

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 – be careful not to intervene personally and ring the police if there is immediate danger.

Support them in whatever decision he or she is currently making about their relationship while being clear that the abuse is wrong. Remember, what you are trying to do is be supportive, not to make them feel judged. It’s not always easy to just leave a relationship.

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. Let them guide you in how best to support them.

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.

Support for professionals

We have a whole section on supporting professionals including training and useful resources. Domestic Abuse for professionals