7 tips about how to be there for the people who need you most
Helpful things to say, ask and do
Approach her about the abuse in a sensitive way.
For example 'I'm worried about you because...'
Believe what she tells you!
It would have taken a lot for her to talk to you and trust you.
Take the abuse seriously.
Abuse can be damaging both physically and emotionally, and is very destructive to someones self-confidence.
Her boyfriend or partner could be placing her in real physical danger.
Focus on her safety.
Talk to her. about her safety and how she could protect herself.
Help her to recognise the abuse and understand how it may be affecting her and her children.
Recognise and support her strength and courage.
Help her understand that the abuse is not her fault.
and that no-one deserves to be abused, no matter what they do or say.
Listen to her and help her to think about her relationship.
regardless of whether she wants to break up or stay and how she can protect herself from any more abuse.
Offer help to protect her but only if you are not putting your own safety at risk.
For example, you could offer to be around when the abuser is there, give her lifts home, take phone messages from the abuser, etc.
These questions may be helpful to advance the conversation.
'What can I do to help you?'
'How do you think his behaviour has affected you?'
'How do you think his behaviour is affecting your children?'
'I'm worried about what he could do to you or the children.'
'What do you think you should do?'
'What are you afraid of if you leave?'
'What are you afraid of if you stay?'
Encourage her to talk to a counsellor, or talk to a counsellor yourself about what you could do to support her.
If you feel overwhelmed or frightened yourself, get help.
She may not be ready to do what you think she 'should' do. Try not to judge her. Be there. Be her friend.
Call 000 if your friend is in immediate danger!