The most important thing you can do is to let the abused person know you are a safe person. Abusers often isolate the abused from friends and family. It is easy to stop being someone’s friend after they don’t return your calls or emails. It is even easy to get angry at a friend who keeps returning to a situation after you have helped them many times. However if someone is getting battered, s/he may not always have the option to return calls or may be embarrassed to reach out to you again. Keep trying. Do not judge. Make sure the battered person knows you are there.
A lot of times we don’t want to interfere with someone else’s lives or decisions. Violence rarely just “stops.” Often it gets worse over time. Say something. Because we don’t want to get involved, we justify it within ourselves by saying things like:
It can’t be THAT serious.
I think my friend may be provoking it.
If it is so bad, why doesn’t s/he just leave?
I shouldn’t get involved. It is between them.
I know the abusive person. I really don’t thing s/he would really hurt anyone.
The abusive person has a mental illness/drinking or drug problem. It is not his/her fault.
If my friend wanted help, s/he would ask for it.
Tell the person you care
Don’t force and don’t blame
Be a support
Focus on the victim’s strengths
Find out facts about domestic violence
Help with safety planning
Be a friend – Let that person know that no matter what, if s/he needs help or someone to talk to, you will be there.