How do you support family friends and others suffering from abuse?
When a friend or family member is being abused, people often wonder, “why don’t they just leave?”
It is difficult, frustrating and sometimes scary to see someone we care about being abused. It can be hard to watch a person leave an abusive relationship and then go back again, sometimes repeatedly.
People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons, and if your friend or family member is staying, it is because that seems like the choice they have to make. Asking “Why don’t you leave” is never helpful to the person being abused.
To help a person who is being abused you can:
- Listen, let the person know you hear them
- Tell them you believe them
- Respect, and don’t question their decisions - they are the expert in their own experience
- Offer to support them in whatever way works best for them
- Take the abuse seriously
- Don’t judge or advise them
- Don’t try to explain what is happening or why it’s happening
- Don’t speak negatively about the abusive person
- Share your concerns, with respect and compassion
- Learn more about domestic violence so you can better support your friend or family member
For more information about how to help a friend or family member visit: https://wscadv.org/resources/friends-family-guide/#how-to-help-someone-in-an-abusive-relationship