Helping a Friend
If you think a
friend might be in a dangerous relationship, trust your
instincts. Follow these tips and talk with your friend. Remember
that our hotline advocates are available to you as a resource by
calling 1-800-460-SAFE. Please also remember that you need to be
careful around abusive relationships. If you don't keep yourself
safe, you won't be able to help the victim leave their abuse. If
you are concerned about your immediate safety, call 911.
What can you do?
If you see an assault in
- Listen without judging. The victim may
feel scared, ashamed, afraid, angry and confused. Let them
know that what has happened isn't their fault. There is no
excuse for abuse.
- Listen with compassion. Let the victim
tell their story, and let them know you believe them and
care for them. Ask them direct questions about their
situation, but be gentle. Respect the cultural values and
beliefs that may be affecting their behavior. Be patient. It
may take several conversations for everything to come out.
- Let them know they are not alone.
Support your friend, but but know that they need help and
empowerment not rescuing. Help them to access their
situation and identify resources and support systems. Make
sure that you give them the Hope Alliance 24-hour hotline
number as a resource.
- Suggest they create a safety plan. A
safety plan can be helpful in an emergency or serve as a
plan for escaping the abuser. It is important to remember to
keep money, important documents, a change of clothes, extra
keys, and other necessities with a friend or neighbor.
Encourage them to document the
abuse. Whether or not they are ready to leave their
abuser, a victim may be willing to document instances of
abuse in a diary that is kept in a safe place. You can also
suggest they see a doctor or nurse about the violence.
- Think of ways you can help. If they
decide to leave their abuser, your friend may need help with
money, finding a place to live, a place to store their
belongings, or a safe place for their pets.
- Remember the decision to leave is not your
decision to make. It often takes victims of abuse a
long time to make the decision to leave their abuser.
Continue to express your concern for their safety and
continue to be their friend. Sometimes the victim's
self-esteem has been so damaged, they don't think they can
make it on their own. Let them know you believe in them and
will help them however you can.
Special Information About Teen
- Call 911.
Don't assume someone else will call
- Document everything you see and can remember, including
any license plates, location of the assault and physical
descriptions of individuals involved and what they were
- Contact Hope Alliance for assistance
- Keep yourself safe.
- For child abuse and elder abuse, the
law requires any person who believes a child, or person 65
or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused,
neglected or exploited to report the circumstances. You are
immune to civil and criminal liability provided you make a
good faith effort to report the abuse. Your identity will be
kept completely confidential. If you suspect abuse and do
not report it, you can be charged with a Class B
misdemeanor. To report abuse, call CPS at 1-800-252-5400.
Parents and friends can play a very important
role in ending teen dating violence. Teens need the support of
their friends and family. Even in the hardest of parent-teen
relationships, the advice and support of a parent can make a
dramatic difference in a teen's decision and ability to leave an
- Ask questions about your child or friend's life. Listen
to what they have to say and keep an open mind.
- Talk to them in private and make sure they know that
what they tell you is confidential. As a parent, make sure
you express that you love them no matter what.
- Let them know why you are concerned. Be specific.
- As a friend, offer to get information. As a parent,
clearly support your child's decision on what to do.
- Make sure you keep the channels of communication clear and
- Suggest other people they can also talk to - friends,
family members, counselors, teachers or other adults they
- Be calm and let them know that you are there for them.
- Give them the Hope Alliance 24-hout hotline number.