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HOW TO HELP A FRIEND

Is Someone You Know In Danger?


As a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or relative, you should be aware of the warning signs of a potentially abusive situation.


  • Do you notice a change in the behavior of someone you know?  Do they seem distant or isolated?
  • Does a friend or relative seem to be cutting off contact with you?
  • Do they seem unduly concerned with the approval of a partner?
  • Do they have to check with their partner to participate in social activities?
  • Does their partner keep unusually close tabs on their activities and whereabouts?
  • Do they not have control over spending their own money?
  • Do you notice repeated unexplained injuries?
  • Do you hear yelling, arguments and things crashing next door?
  • Does a colleague or friend suddenly start missing work or school?
  • Is there obvious tension in the relationship?
  • Do you notice someone making fun of or humiliating their partner in front of others?


Warning signs of a potentially abusive personality


  • Blames others for their problems
  • Needy, expecting their partner to take care of their feelings
  • Jealousy and control of their partner
  • Cruelty to animals or children
  • Own identity is not clear
  • Increased danger/lethality when using drugs or alcohol, with mental health issues or if have access to weapons
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Personality
  • Controlling behavior


What to do if someone comes to you for help


You may know someone who is a victim of domestic violence. They may be looking for someone to talk to and may have chosen you. The following list of Do's and Dont's may be helpful.


Do:

  • Believe them.
  • Encourage, but don't pressure them to talk about the abuse.
  • Respect any need for confidentiality.
  • Listen to and support the person's feelings without judging.
  • Let them know they are not alone. Domestic violence happens to many people.
  • Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault.
  • Give them three clear messages: they can't change their partner's behavior; apologies and promises will not end the violence; and violence is never justifiable.
  • Physical safety is the first priority. Discuss options and help make safety plans. Download our Safety Planning Guide.
  • Give them the time they need to make their own decisions.
  • If they are not ready to make major changes in their life, do not take away your support.


Victims of abuse need our support and encouragement, but some forms of advice can be harmful or dangerous.


Don't:


  • Tell a victim what to do, when to leave, or not to leave.
  • Tell them to go back and try a little harder.
  • Rescue them by trying to make decisions for them.
  • Offer to try to talk to their partner to straighten things out.
  • Tell them they should stay because of the children.