We have collected the following information in order to help educate and bring more understanding as to how to help someone in an abusive relationship.

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Helping Someone Experiencing Abuse

One in four women in the United States will be a victim of domestic violence; chances are, someone you know, your mother, sister, friend, coworker or neighbor is one of them. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and you want to help, there are things you can do to make a difference.


A victim of domestic violence needs to feel they can talk about what is happening to them without fear of being judged, rejected or betrayed. Don’t blame them and respect their decisions.


Domestic violence knows no boundaries, it happens across all cultural, educational and economic backgrounds. Assure the victim they are not to blame. No one deserves to be abused, and they did not cause the violence.


Encourage them to see that they have choices and support them in the decisions they make. Help educate them on domestic violence and where they can go for help. Try to persuade them to contact The National Hotline for help 1.800.799.7233 or 1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or www.thehotline.org for more information. Trained volunteers and advocates offer resources including crisis intervention, safety planning, emotional support and information about domestic violence.


Supporting a victim of domestic violence can be demanding, but they need to know you will not abandon them. Ask what you can do to support and help them.

You can say

  • I believe you.
  • You are not alone. There are many people who have gone through this.
  • I care about you, and I know this is hard it is to talk about.
  • You don’t deserve to be hurt; you’ve done nothing wrong, this is not your fault.
  • What is happening is wrong.
  • You know best what your partner may do. It’s always best to have a safety plan in place.
  • I can give you a number to call for help and advice.
  • You are not alone. How can I help you?

You can ask

  • Is someone hurting you?
  • Did someone hurt you?
  • Are you afraid of your partner?
  • Has your partner ever hit (kicked, hurt) you?
  • I have a friend whose partner tries to control everything they do. Is this happening to you?
  • Is there someone from a previous relationship who is making you feel unsafe now?

Don’t say

  • Why don’t you just leave?
  • Why did you return to your partner?
  • What did you do to provoke your partner?
  • Why did you wait so long to tell someone?


  • Don’t judge.
  • Don’t use labels.
  • Don’t tell the person what to do.
  • Don’t discuss the person’s information with anyone else without their permission.

*Many thanks to the Lifewire website for this content.