be supportive

Help A Friend

Has your friend cut visits short? Have you seen any physical evidence (bruises, marks, or burns) that your friend has no reasonable explanation for? Are you aware her partner is jealous, quick-tempered or easily upset?

Has your friend made comments about thoughts of suicide or made any attempts?If you answer yes to any or all of the questions above, be concerned. The only way you can find out about abuse, is to ASK.


  • Talk with other friends or resource people about your own feelings. Talk to someone who you can trust to keep what you say confidential. You don’t need to give out any information about your friend or betray them in anyway.
  • If your friend shows no signs of ending the relationship, you will need to control any frustrations you may have in order to give her the ongoing support she needs.
  • Let your friend know you believe her. Encourage her to talk about her situation. Stress to her that it is not her fault. Offer to take her to get help. Tell her of a shelter that will give her confidential help. She may be reluctant or afraid to make contact on her own.
  • Point out to her all of her options, but let her decide what she will do.
  • Let her know you will support her, no matter what she decides.

Do Not:

  • Confront your friend’s partner about the violence. They may become violent towards you and/or make it more difficult for you to see your friend. They may also take out their anger at you on your friend.
  • Bad-mouth her partner. An abused woman wants the violence to stop, but she may want her relationship to last.


  • Breaking the Silence is the first step.
  • Make Safety the first priority.
  • If your friend has been assaulted, encourage her to seek medical attention and offer to accompany her.
  • If your friend has children, find out where they are and if they are safe.
  • If it is safe to do so, invite her to spend the night at your house.
  • Encourage her to talk to her doctor, the police, or counsellor.
  • Above all, be supportive.