You Can Help
What to say to or do for a friend living with domestic or dating violence
- Listen without judging.
- Believe, and let your friend know that you believe what s/he is saying. Your friend may have been told, “Nobody will ever believe you.”
- Offer information not advice. Your friend is the expert on his/her own safety, but may not have information about local resources to help.
- Suggest that your friend call the New Hope for Women 24-hour hotline, or offer to go with your friend to one of our four offices for in-person advocacy.
- Keep it confidential.
- Understand that your friend may be living with an abusive partner who minimizes and denies the abuse. Accurately describe what you observe and why you are concerned, and remind your friend that he/she did nothing to deserve such treatment.
- Let your friend know that you are there no matter what he/she decides. Make it clear that you are not going to ask your friend to trade the control of an intimate partner for the control of a friend. Try something like, “You are a strong person, and I know you will figure out what is right for you. I just want you to know that you’re not in this alone.”
- Remember that abusive partners have a world view in which it is acceptable to use power, control and violence to get what one wants. Only the person behaving abusively can decide to change his/her behavior.
- Be patient. Call the New Hope for Women hotline if you need to process your own feelings about your friend’s situation, or to get more ideas about how to help. 1-800-522-3304.