Helping a Friend in an Abusive Relationship

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If you do suspect that your friend is being abused by his/her partner, there are some ways you can help, but it is always important to remember that if you believe that you or your friend are in some immediate danger, you need to go to the police.

Encourage your friend to talk. Try to get your friend to do most of the talking. Here are some open-ended questions you can ask your friend:

  • How are you feeling about your relationship?
  • What do your friends and family think about your relationship?
  • Do you have plans for the future of your relationship? Listen to your friend. Don’t be judgmental. Make sure your friend knows he or she has your support.

Don’t blame your friend for what’s happening. Concentrate on what makes him or her happy and how your friend can take action to change things now.

Don’t tell your friend what to do. Instead, encourage your friend to think about options and be specific about why you’re concerned.

Where to get help. You can call The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE for help and more information for either you or your friend. For emergency situations where your friend is in immediate danger, call 911. You can also call Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 to speak with trained volunteers who can direct you to support services in your area.


Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 

Dear Auntie, I was raped last month...I'm getting therapy, so why isn't it helping?

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