Help a Friend- Abusive Relationships

How to help a friend who is being abused

Believe. Listen. Act.

What Do I Need to Know?

Listen without judging.

Know it is hard to understand the pain your friend is going through. Be aware your friend may assume blame, fault and responsibility for the abuse.

Explain that physical abuse is NEVER acceptable.

There’s no excuse for abuse—not alcohol or drugs, financial pressure, depression or jealousy.

Understand your friend’s feelings

of guilt, shame, sadness and loneliness.

What Can I Do?

Make sure your friend knows he /she is not alone.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friend who needs help.

Empower your friend to make his/her own decision.

Your friend has been stripped of power in the relationship, so it is important to validate his/her feelings.

Make your friend comfortable

Say you are concerned for his/her safety and want to help.

Be supportive and listen patiently.

Acknowledge your friend’s feelings about the relationship.

Don’t be too forceful.

Help your friend recognize the abuse is not “normal” and is not his/her fault.

Everyone deserves a healthy non-violent relationship.

Focus on your friend not on the abuser.

Even if your friend stays with his/her abusive partner, it is important he/she still feels comfortable talking to you about it.

Be respectful and understanding

In regards to your friend’s decisions about the relationship.

Help boost your friend’s self-esteem.

Connect your friend to campus and community resources

Can provide information and guidance

Help your friend develop a safety plan in case of emergency.

Have a plan to change residences or classes. Arrange for a safe ride or keep taxi money on hand. Carry extra cash, important documents, a change of clothes and an extra set of keys in a safe place such as a friend’s or neighbor’s home.

Continue to be supportive after the relationship is over.

Get advice.

If you want to talk with someone to get advice about a particular situation, contact the VIP Center at (402) 280.3794 or, the Center for Health and Counseling at (402)280-2735 or Omaha WCA hotline at (402)345.7273.  In a campus emergency, call Creighton Public Safety at (402)280.2911.

Source: “How to Help Someone Who Is Being Abused” courtesy of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, “Help a Friend in Need” at