You can support a friend or family member who is experiencing domestic abuse in a number of ways.
- Give the time and space to talk.
- Reassure them that you believe what they are saying.
- Take care not to blame them.
- Reassure them they are not alone and there are many others in the same situation.
- Try not to push them to go into more detail than they feel ready to talk about.
- This is a frightening and difficult situation.
- No-one deserves to be threatened or abused-despite what their abuser might have told them.
- Nothing they can say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.
- Encourage them to express their feelings.
- Try not to be judgemental.
- Encourage them to seek help and support via outreach services but don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they are not ready to do this. Remember it must be their decision.
Support them to seek help
- Encourage them to speak to their local outreach service
- Have they suffered physical harm? If so, ask if they wish to attend hospital, or visit their GP and offer to accompany them.
- Help them to report the assault to the police if they choose to do so.
- Encourage them to have their injuries logged in case they need evidence in the future.
- Seek advice on their options.
- Offer to go with them to visit a solicitor.
- Be ready to provide information on organisations that can help.
- Help them to plan safe strategies in case they decide to leave. Let them decide what they think is safe. Remember they know the abuser best.
- Offer the use of your address and/or telephone number for them to receive messages or information.
- Offer to look after an emergency bag as they may urgently need to leave an abusive environment.
Suggested items to be included in an emergency bag
- Financial details for example insurance documents, bank details, credit cards, National Insurance number.
- Medical details and medication (if applicable).
- Documentation, for example passport, birth and marriage certificates, drivers licence (if applicable).
- Basic and essential clothing
- Children’s favourite toy or comforter
Take care of yourself too
- Ensure that you do not put yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend.
- Don’t allow yourself to be seen as a threat by the abuser.
- Speak to your local outreach service and find out how they can support you.