How to help a friend experiencing domestic abuse
Do you have a friend in an abusive relationship and you’re not sure what to do?
It can be extremely difficult when you realise that somebody you care about is experiencing domestic abuse. Your friend may not have told you directly that they are experiencing domestic abuse. If this is case it can be very difficult to talk about the situation, however there are things that you can do in order to try and support your friend.
Listen, they may feel totally alone. It is important to stress that domestic abuse happens to people from all walks of life and that they know the abuse isn’t their fault. The perpetrator of the abuse is always to blame; they chooses to act this way.
Support your friend, but allow them to make their own decisions. Please remember that within the relationship they may not have been able to make decisions, so undoubtedly they are going to need some time. You may have to accept that your friend is not yet ready to leave the relationship.
You could offer to go with your friend to report the domestic abuse to a GP, the police or a solicitor. Also there are local domestic abuse services based around the UK.
You could help your friend with a safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship. Keep in mind that they know the perpetrator better than anyone, so it is vital to respect their wishes.
It is also important that you look after yourself. It can be very difficult helping somebody through this situation. Your safety is also really important so do not allow yourself to be in a dangerous situation.
Here are further links to websites and organisations who can provide you with information and support
If you want to access support over the phone, you can call:
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327
The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123
Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-advice/advice-lines/
Splitz Services - 0345 155 1074 https://www.splitz.org