If you think that someone you know might need help, we’re here to listen.
It’s not an easy subject to bring up but there are basic steps that you can take to help a friend, family member, colleague, neighbour or anyone you know who confides in you that they are experiencing domestic abuse.
How you can help
- Listen and try to understand. Tell her that she is not alone and that there are many women like her in the same situation.
- Don’t push her to go into lots of detail. Let her talk at her own pace.
- Acknowledge that it takes a lot of strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse.
- Let her know that no one deserves to be threatened, hurt, made to feel scared or controlled despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.
- Support her as a friend. Encourage her to express her feelings, whatever they are. Allow her to make her own decisions.
- Don’t tell her to leave the relationship if she is not ready to do this. This is her decision.
- Ask if she has suffered physical harm. If so, offer to go with her to a hospital or to see her GP.
- Help her to report the assault to the police if she chooses to do so.
- Tell her about WAIS 24 hour Freephone helpline. Tell her she can speak to someone anytime, day or night and she doesn’t have to give her name if she doesn’t want to. There is someone at the end of the phone who can help her to leave safely if she wants to, find her somewhere to stay if she wants to or just listen to her.
- Offer your friend the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and tell her you will look after an emergency bag for her, if she wants this.
- Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.