It can be difficult to see a friend being treated in ways that are harmful by their family, partner or people they care about. You might want to do something to help them straight away or feel stuck about what you can do to help.
It is important to remember that the person might not be ready to talk about what’s happening and it may not be safe for them to do so. They might also be confused or unsure about what is happening to them and who they can talk to.
Whatever the reason, it is important to listen to them and remember that they are the expert in their own story.
Tips on talking to someone when you’re worried about them
Stay calm and offer them privacy to tell their story. If possible, go somewhere quiet to chat
Listen to what the person is saying and don’t interrupt them
Be patient. Pay attention to them and allow time for them to speak. It is natural to want to ask a lot of questions, but it can feel intrusive
Believe them. This person has shown trust in you and is opening up about a very personal experience
Avoid judgement or blame. Tell the person that the violence is not their fault
Reassure them that talking to you was the right thing to do
Support them. Ask the person if there is anything you can do to help them, don’t tell them what to do. It is important to reach out to a specialist if you are unsure what to do
Make a safety plan if the person is ready to
A safety plan is a way of thinking about things you, your friend, and other important people can do to make your friend safer while they make decisions about their next steps.
How can WithRespect help?
You can contact WithRespect as a friend to ask for help on how to make a safety plan and how to get help. We understand that supporting a friend can be tough, so With Respect can walk you through this, and provide support for you too.
If your friend is ready, you can support them to call a Family Violence Specialist themself.
If your friend, children or family members are in immediate danger call 000.