Resources for Family, Friends and Supporters
Supporting a family member or friend who is going through domestic violence can be challenging for us. Our love and deep compassion for what is happening can prevent us from letting the person make his or her own decisions. Remember: deciding to leave the abusive relationship is not our decision to make; it is theirs.
The best way to help is to be there and listen without judgment and believe them. Each survivor’s experience is different and only they know what they’ve had to endure to survive. It is crucial that one validate the survivor’s confused feelings, especially if they express still being in love with the abuser. It is still possible to love someone who hurts us, and coming to terms with the loss of the relationship can be difficult. If he or she ends the relationship, continue to be supportive of them. Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member who has survived it may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. She or he will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.
Acknowledge that he or she is in a very difficult and scary situation. Let your friend or family member know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure him or her that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there.
Encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with him or her to talk to family and friends. If he or she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)799-7233. You are not alone.
If you know someone who is experiencing abuse, don't be afraid to let him or her know that you are concerned for their safety.
This section was adapted from materials provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.