Helping a Friend or Family Member

Acknowledge that they are in a difficult and scary situation; let them know you're there for them.


Let them know the abuse is not their fault. Make sure they know they're not alone and that there is help and support out there. What they need most is someone to believe them and listen to them.

Be non-judgemental


Respect their decisions. There are many reasons people stay in abusive relationships. Do not try to guilt-trip them or make them feel weak for staying. It may take some time for someone to leave an abusive relationship for good. Be supportive along the way.


Help them develop a safety plan


Look at our safety plan and help them develop one for themselves, whether they're in an abusive relationship, have just left one, or are getting ready to leave. 





Encourage them to call Response or their local domestic violence program.


Response has a 24-hour crisis line, if someone wants information, referrals or just wants to talk. Encourage the victim to call the crisis line, or call for more information about what you can do to be helpful.


Remember, you can't rescue them 

Although it can be difficult to see someone you care about be hurt, remember that you can't make decisions for them, but you can be supportive and be there for them to support them in whatever they decide to do. 

Check out these additional resources:

If you have a loved one impacted by sexual violence, this link has lots of resources and information.  There is also good information at RAINN about how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to support friends and loved ones. 



Adapted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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