Are you worried that your friend might be being abused by their partner, parent or carer?

Here are some signs that your friend might be experiencing domestic abuse:

  • Their partner doesn’t like it when they spend time with you
  • They start dressing differently because their partner asks them to
  • They start abruptly cancelling plans
  • They are noticeably unhappy 
  • Their partner / parent / carer ‘s behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable when you’re with them
  • They often use angry, derogatory language towards your friend
  • Your friend seems afraid but is defensive and doesn’t want to admit there is a problem

How to support a friend who has experienced domestic abuse

Safety is a top priority in this situation. Try to remain calm and do not do anything that could put your friend in danger. If the abuser is an immediate concern then call 999. 

When you talk to your friend be kind, comforting and empathic. Let them know that you have noticed that something is wrong.

Use language and phrases like:

  • You are not alone
  • You deserve to be safe, your children deserve to be safe
  • It takes strength to talk about abuse
  • I realise you are in a frightening situation and I will not force you to do anything
  • You have the right to make your own choices, including whether or not you leave an abusive situation

Here are some tips from the NHS website:

  • Listen and take care not to blame them
  • Acknowledge that it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
  • Give them time to talk, but do not push them to talk if they don’t want to
  • Tell them that nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said
  • Support them as a friend, encourage them to express their feelings and allow them to make their own decisions
  • Do not tell them to leave the relationship or leave home if they are not ready - that is their decision
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm and if they have, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
  • Help them report to the police if they choose to
  • Be ready to provide information about organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse

If you or your friend is based in South Tyneside then take a look at our page on how we help people who are experiencing domestic abuse.