How to help a friend who is experiencing intimate partner abuse
Give them HAWC information or direct them to this website.
Safety is priority.
Help your friend in creating a safety plan that will work for him/her
Respect your friend's right to confidentiality.
Violating Confidentiality may put someone at greater risk of danger.
Tell your friend you believe her/him
Listen and let her/him share her or his feelings
Do not judge or give advice. Sometimes friends in abusive relationships can't do what is asked of them and they do not want to dissapoint you.
Don't be upset if your friend doesn't react the way you would want her/him to react.
MORE WAYS TO HELP
Make supportive statements, including:
"Your actions do not cause the abuse."
"You are not to blame for your partner's behavior."
"You cannot change her partner's behavior."
"Apologies and promises are a form of manipulation."
"You are not alone."
"Abuse is not loss of control; it is a means of control."
It is helpful to provide support to survivors. However, there are some forms of advice that are not useful and even dangerous for them to hear:
Don't tell them what to do, when to leave or when not to leave.
Don't tell them to go back to the situation and try a little harder.
Don't rescue them by trying to find quick solutions.
Don't suggest you try to talk to the abusive partner to straighten things out.
Don't place yourself in danger by confronting the abuser.
Don't tell them they should stay for the sake of the children.
Never recommend couples counseling in situations of emotional or physical abuse: It is dangerous for the victim and will not lead to a resolution.
Encourage separate counseling for the individuals, if they want counseling.
Adapted from EWA, Canada