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I'm worried about someone I know

One in four women experience domestic abuse. Someone you know may be experiencing domestic abuse. It might be a family member, a friend or colleague.

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It can be difficult to know what to do when someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

For a lot of people, the first instinct is to try to rescue someone from the relationship by trying to convince and tell the person that they have to leave. However, it is almost never as easy as “just leaving”. Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous and risky time for women.

It is very important not to isolate her, judge her and add more pressure to her by telling or asking her to end the relationship. There are other ways in which you can help her. These include:

  • Providing an ear to listen when she feels ready;
  • Do not judge or question the choices she has made she may have had no options or choices;
  • Avoid making her feel like she is a bad mum or that she is not looking after her children;
  • Believe her and what she is telling you;
  • Sensitively and respectfully convey that the behaviours she is describing are not normal or healthy behaviours experienced in a loving, caring relationship;
  • Avoid criticising or insulting her partner/ex-partner. This could make her stop talking to you or feel as though she should be defending him;
  • Let her know that there is support available for her and her children.

Remember she might not open up to you the first time that you speak to her about abuse. Be patient and give her opportunities to talk without putting pressure on her. It can be a really difficult topic to talk about and it is hard to imagine what she is going through.