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. If they are at serious risk of harm always phone 999 immediately.

Reach out

If you have spotted signs of domestic abuse, the next step is to reach out and support them. 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 the person 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. The reality is that domestic abuse is a crime that will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men at some point in their life.

Find support and advice

Intervening and getting between your friend and their partner can be dangerous, for both of you. Encourage them to contact the agencies detailed on these pages. 

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

  • Refuge - Their ‘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 - A national charity enabling people to pass on sensitive information about crime anonymously.
Last updated:
17 July 2024
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