Help a Friend

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STEP 1: Understand what abuse is.

Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior that often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone.

STEP 2: See if there are warning signs that your friend may be in an abusive relationship.

Does your friend . . .
  • apologize and make excuses for a partner's behavior?
  • cancel or change plans often? 
  • call and/or text to an extreme?
  • act fearful of upsetting of angering a partner?
  • have dramatic changes in weight, appearance, or grades?
  • have unexplained injuries?
  • give up hobbies or time with friends and family?
  • seem to lose confidence in themselves?
  • have difficulty making decisions?

STEP 3: Try these strategies to provide support to a friend in an abusive relationship.

  • Listen with patience and compassion, not judgment.
  • Let them know that you are concerned for their safety.
  • Encourage them to make their own decisions and support them through this difficult process.
  • Let your friend know the abuse is not their fault.
  • Listen and believe what he/she tells you.
  • Acknowledge your friend's feelings. Don't tell him/her how he or she should feel.
  • Let them know if you are concerned for their safety.
  • Use I-statements to share your feelings and what you are seeing or hearing. (e.g. "I felt really scared yesterday when I heard him scream at you.")
  • Do not judge or make victim-blaming statements like "You're stupid to stay with him" or "Why do you let her treat you like this?"
  • Do not put your friend's partner down or pressure your friend to break up with his/her partner.
  • Offer to help him/her find a counselor, teacher, or parent he/she can trust. Offer to go with him/her to speak with them.
  • Call JCADA's helpline for additional suggestions at 1-877-88-JCADA(52232)