How to Help a Friend or Family Member Who is Being Abused
It is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, but remember that you cannot
“rescue” them. Ultimately, the victim must make his or her own decision about whether
or not to leave that relationship. But, there are some ways that you can help them
find their own way to escape the abuse and become safe. Use the Haven House hotline
(716-884-6000) as a resource through this process.
What Do I Need to Know?
The serious and painful effects of domestic violence impact the victim’s desire
and ability to end their relationship. They may have been told the abuse was their
fault and they may feel responsible. Even though the relationship was abusive, they
will probably feel sad and lonely when it is over. Because there are many complex
reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships, they may break up with and go
back to the abuser many times. Remember that it may be difficult for them to talk
about the abuse.
What Can I Do?
- Don’t be afraid to tell them that you are concerned for their safety and want to
- Acknowledge and validate their feelings about their relationship.
- Help them recognize that the abuse is not “normal” and not their fault, and that
everyone deserves a healthy non-violent relationship.
- Be supportive and listen patiently.
- Focus on your friend or family member and what they need, not on the abuser. Even
if your loved one stays with their abusive partner, it is important that they still
feel comfortable talking to you about it.
- Be respectful of their decisions.
- Encourage them to do things with you and other friends and family members, and to
take part in activities outside the relationship.
- Connect them to resources in their community (Haven House hotline- 716-884-6000)
that can help give them information and guidance as they move forward.
- Call the Haven House hotline (716-884-6000) to get your
- Help them develop a plan to end their relationship safely.
- If they break up with the abuser, continue to be supportive of them once they are
From Break the Cycle: Empowering Youth to End