Check out the warning signs listed on this web site to see if any of them fit your friend's relationship. Understand the danger that your friend may be in. In many cases, your friend fears for her life. She may want her children to grow up with both parents. She may feel guilty and believe that the abuse is her fault; or she doesn't want to cause any "trouble" for the family. Sometimes a victim's self-esteem is so damaged by the abuse that she thinks she can't make it on her own. Or, she may just want the violence to end, not the relationship. If you suspect abuse there are ways you can help.
What You Can Do
- Tell your friend about Safe Place and the 24-hour hotline number, 1-800-967-8928 or 432-570-1465
- Listen without judging. Your friend may feel responsible, ashamed, inadequate, and afraid. Give her your support without pressuring her to agree with you.
- Tell your friend that the abuse is NOT her fault and she is not stupid.
- Make sure your friend knows she is not alone and others care about her.
- Explain that family violence or intimate partner abuse is a crime. Your friend can seek protection from the police, courts, and domestic violence programs.
- Suggest your friend develop a safety plan. A safety plan should be designed with your friend's individual circumstances in mind. Encourage your friend to call Safe Place to have an advocate help her make an individualized safety plan. Click here for more information about safety plans.
- Think of ways you can help. If your friend decides to leave, she may need money, assistance finding a place to live, a place to store her belongings, or help finding a safe home for her pets.
- Know that you can make a difference for your friend when you support her in whatever decision she makes about the relationship. Only she can decide what is best for her and her children.