Survivors of domestic violence often feel isolated and alone. You can make a tremendous difference by letting them know that you are concerned about them and offering support. Here are some conversation starters and tips for you if someone you know is being abused or you believe they are being abused.
The first step is to try to talk about it. You can ask open-ended questions like:
- How is everything going at home?
- I notice that you seem afraid (or sad) around your partner. How are things going in your relationship?
- I notice that your partner seems extremely jealous. Can you tell me what’s going on?
- I know that you broke up with your partner but they won’t stop trying to see you. Can you tell me what’s happening?
- I notice that you’ve had some injuries. Did someone do that to you?
Once you get the conversation going, show support by saying things like:
- I’m concerned about your safety.
- What you are experiencing is abuse, and no one deserves to be abused.
- I’m here for you if you want to talk or take action.
- I’m going to keep checking in with you to see how you are doing.
- I can help you in these ways (including practical help like a place to stay, watching children, sharing your phone or computer so the survivor can safely access information and support, storing an emergency bag for a later escape, having a signal for danger, etc.)
- I know an organization you can turn to, where you won’t be judged and can get information and support. Call New Beginnings’ 24-hour Helpline at (206) 522-9472.
The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a great Friends & Family Guide on how to help someone who is in an abusive relationship.
- If someone is sharing about their abuse, believe what they are saying.
- If someone denies abuse but you believe it’s happening, pick the conversation up again later, and continue expressing your concern and support.
- Don’t judge—it’s hard, and often dangerous, to leave an abusive relationship.
- Be patient; it can take a long time for someone to get help or leave a relationship.
- Our 24-hour Helpline is here for you too; call anytime to get help when supporting a friend or loved one.