Last updated:
30 October 2017

Information for friends and family of people being abused

How you can support someone you know who is being abused.

It can be difficult to know what to do if you have a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship.

Call 999 if your friend or relative is at serious risk of harm

If you have spotted any signs of domestic abuse, the next step is to reach out and support your friend. For many people, talking to someone can be the first step towards safety. Once things are out in the open your friend may be able to see their situation more clearly. Talking about their experiences can make them feel stronger and less overwhelmed.

If your friend or relative is experiencing domestic abuse they may be feeling very alone, so it’s important to listen and offer non-judgmental support.

Many people believe that domestic abuse is a private matter, to be dealt with behind closed doors. But the reality is that domestic abuse is a crime that will affect 1 woman in 4 and 1 in 6 men at some point in their life.

However, remember that intervening and getting between your friend and their partner can be dangerous – for both you and them. As well as offering a listening ear, you can encourage your friend or relative to contact the agencies detailed on these pages.

You can call these agencies on behalf of your friend or relative and see what support they offer and what advice they can give you to help.

  • Refuge - has a ‘Support a Friend’ campaign can give you some practical ways to support your female friend.
  • The Hide Out - provides help, information and support for children and young people affected by domestic violence. It includes advice sections and hotline contact numbers.
  • Crimestoppers - is a national charity which enables people to pass on sensitive information about crime anonymously.

You can also call Sussex Crimestoppers to report abuse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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