Sometimes it's hard to talk about important matters, such as domestic abuse, but it is imperative that you try. Below are a few suggestions that can make approaching the topic a little easier: 

Talk to them and help them to open up

  • You may have to try several times before they will confide in you
  • Try to be direct and start by saying something like,
    • “I’m worried about you because …..” or
    • “I’m concerned about your safety…” 

Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault and that you are there for them

Do not judge them

  • Listen to and believe what they tell you;
    • too often people do not believe them when they first disclose the abuse. 

Don’t tell them to leave or criticise them for staying

  • Although you may want them to leave, they are the only one who can make this decision; this can take time.
    • Remember, research shows an abused person is at most risk when separating or immediately after leaving an abusive partner so it is normal for them to be apprehensive. 

Leaving takes a great deal of strength and courage

  • An abused person often faces huge obstacles such as;
        • nowhere to go,
        • no money and
        • no-one to turn to for support

Focus on supporting them and building their self confidence

Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship.

Remind them that they are coping well.

Believe in them.

Encourage them to seek the help of a domestic violence agency

  • They can offer them advice and discuss their options
  • Consider completing a safety plan together

Be patient

  • It can take time for an abused person to recognise they are being abused.
  • It can take even longer to them to be able to feel safe and make permanent decisions about what to do.
  • Recognising the problem is an important first step.

And above all, remember that;

you cannot rescue anyone but you can help them rescue themselves.