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What can I do if my friend is in an abusive relationship?

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What can I do if my friend is in an abusive relationship?

We understand this can be a difficult and concerning situation for you. Although the decision to leave and abusive partner can only be made by the person experiencing the abuse, there are actions you can take to help your friend feel supported.  Even if you feel you should be doing more, you’re already doing a lot by just being there for your friend as they decide on the best path forward.

There are so many ways people can help and be supportive, here are a few:

  • Reach out to your friend; tell them you’re concerned for their well being and want to help.
  • Support them by listening patiently and acknowledging their feelings while being respectful of their decisions.
  • Help your friend recognize that the abuse is not “normal” and is NOT their fault. Everyone deserves a healthy, non-violent relationship.
  • Focus on your friend, not the abusive partner. Even if your friend stays with their partner, it’s important they still feel comfortable talking to you about it.
  • Connect your friend to resources in their community that can give them information and guidance.
  • Help them develop a safety plan.
  • If they break up with the abusive partner, continue to be supportive after the relationship is over.
  • Even when you feel like there’s nothing you can do, remember that by being supportive and caring, you’re already doing a lot.
  • Avoid contacting the abuser or publicly post negative things about them online. It’ll only worsen the situation for your friend.  Keep your own safety in mind.

Thank you for reaching out with your question and supporting your friend.  If you have other questions, please call the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan’s 24-hour help and information line:  231-347-0082 or 800-275-1995.

Check out these additional resources:
Love Is Respect
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The Power and Control Wheel