This project made possible by
Grant Number: 13-V01-91524 MBCC VOCA FY 2014

A Friend in Need

How do I know if my friend is being abused? Have you seen evidence of injuries? Have you accepted explanations for bruises? Does he/she miss work frequently? Does the partner show an unusual amount of control over his/her life? Have you noticed changes in behavior? Does the partner embarrass or ridicule him/her in public? Does the partner blame him/her for the way the partner acts or speaks? Has he/she described forms of abuse? What can I do if I think a friend is dealing with abuse? Keep talking to those in need. Abusers isolate their partners. Maintain contact with those dealing with abuse. It is one of the best ways to help them. The serious and painful effects of domestic violence impact the victim’s desire and ability to end their relationship. Even though the relationship was abusive, they will be fearful of the unknown, concerned about change and sad about losing their partner.


  • Listen to what he/she has to share, as you may be the only outlet they have.
  • Believe their story, for it is how they know the world.
  • Allow them to be honest, even if it is painful.
  • Express that you are concerned for their safety and want to help.
  • Honor his/her choices and support his/her decisions or risk isolation.
  • Share with him/her that no one deserves to be abused.
  • Call the police if you see a violent incident that puts your friend or others at risk.
  • Help in any way you can with transportation, child care, groceries or money.
  • Let him/her keep important papers and extra clothes at your house.
  • Acknowledge and validate his/her feelings about the relationship.
  • Encourage the survivor to talk with a trained rape crisis advocate.


  • Judge what he/she has done.
  • Blame him/her for the situation.
  • Minimize what he/she is experiencing.
  • Tell him/her what to do or say what he/she should think.
  • Question the victimization incidents.
  • Ask your friend to talk about the victimization.
  • Put yourself at risk. Helping also means keeping yourself safe.


  • To educate yourself about domestic violence and available services.
  • To help him/her plan for the future and to create a safety plan.
  • To be patient and allow the survivor to recover at her/his own rate.
  • To get them do things with you and other friends and family members, and to take part in activities outside the relationship.
“I worry about you and the children,” “I would like to see you stay some place safe tonight.” “I want you to have a great life” “I care about you”.