Helping a friend

Warning Signs that Someone You Know is Being Abused

  • The person has bruises or injuries that look like they were caused by someone.
  • The person is unusually depressed, anxious, irritable or distracted.
  • At the workplace, the person may be frequently absent or uncharacteristically late for work.
  • Work performance may suffer.
  • The person may become unexpectedly withdrawn, distant or isolated from friends, family, neighbors or co-workers.
  • The person stops talking about their partner.
  • The person suddenly dresses differently or out of season (e.g., wears concealing clothes in warm weather), possibly to cover up injuries or bruises.

What to do if you think a family member, neighbor, or friend may be affected by domestic violence

If you suspect a person you care about is being abused, you can help. Your offer of help could make the difference to someone living in an abusive situation. While there is no one "right" way to help someone, here are important steps to keep in mind:

  • Talk in a safe, private place.
  • Take the time to listen, and believe what you hear.
  • Do not underestimate the danger.
  • Express your concern for the person's safety.
  • Do not expect change overnight; be patient and continue to offer your support.
  • Do not judge or criticize the person's decisions.
  • Encourage the person to make their own choices, but urge them to talk to someone who knows about domestic violence.
  • Let the person know that they are not alone, and tell them about agencies that can help.