Helping Someone Else

Unless you are trying to help someone who has been very open about their experiences it may be difficult to acknowledge the problem directly. However, there are some basic steps that you can take to support to anyone you know who confides in you that they are experiencing domestic abuse.

Are you worried about someone you know?

Call the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900 for information and support.

Remember to look after yourself while you are supporting someone through a difficult time. Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.  This can have serious consequences for you and your friend.

Here are some simple steps that you can take to support a friend, loved one or colleague:

  • Support them as a friend. Encourage them to express their feelings and listen without judging them. Tell them that they are not alone and that there are many people in similar situations.
  • Acknowledge that it takes strength to talk about experiencing abuse. Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to go into too much detail if they don’t want to.
  • Take them seriously. Acknowledge that they are in a frightening and very difficult situation.
  • Tell them that abuse is never their fault. No one should be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser has said.  The abuser is solely responsible for their actions.
  • Don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they are not ready to do this. Allow them to make their own decisions.

  • Tell them about the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Add the number to your contacts in case your friend needs it.
  • Offer them mobile phone credit so they can keep in contact with family and friends.
  • Ask if they have been physically assaulted or hurt. If so, offer to go with them to a hospital or to see their GP. Suggest that it might be useful in future to have records of any injuries, as abuse can escalate over time.
  • Help them to report the assault to the police, if they choose to do so.
  • Go with them to visit a solicitor, if they are ready to take this step.
  • Agree a code word with them to use if they are in danger and need your help.
  • Offer your friend the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages, and tell them you will look after an emergency bag, if they want this.
  • Offer them a small amount of money to put away in case they need a taxi or bus in an emergency to leave the house and go to family or refuge.