What to do if your friend is being abused…

Talking with a friend in an abusive relationship can make a big difference to them, whether they are being abused or being abusive. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to say it, especially if you haven’t dealt with this issue before.

DO:

  • Listen first to what they have to say.
  • If necessary, help your friend get medical attention. Encourage your friend to contact a professional or an adult they trust for help.
  • Talk to them in private and keep what they say confidential.
  • Let your friend know why you are concerned. Be specific. Refer to incidents you have personally witnessed instead of what you have heard from others.
  • Tell your friend it’s not his/her fault.
  • Offer to get your friend information.
  • Mention other people your friend might talk to – a counselor, a teacher, or another adult they trust.
  • Let them know you are available to talk more if they need.
  • Give them the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline number: 1-866-331-9474.

DON’T:

  • Be judgmental.
  • Make them feel stupid or ashamed.
  • Ask lots of yes or no questions. Give your friend a chance to talk freely.
  • Force your friend to make a decision or give ultimatums. They have to decide when they are ready to get help or end their relationship. You can’t do it for them.
  • Don’t try to confront the abuser or rush your friend into a decision he/she isn’t comfortable with.
  • Don’t spread gossip. This could make your friend’s situation more dangerous.

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