How to Help a Loved One

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Supporting a loved one in an abusive relationship is crucial for their well-being and safety. ACADV has provided valuable resources and guidance on recognizing signs of abuse, understanding domestic violence dynamics, and accessing local support services. Whether you’re a friend, family member, or concerned individual, equipping yourself with knowledge and strategies can make a significant difference in your loved one’s journey towards safety and healing.

Why do people stay?

Individuals experiencing domestic violence may choose to remain in abusive relationships for various reasons. These reasons include limited access to safety and support, belief in the importance of two-parent households, lack of support from friends and family, fear of the abuser’s violence, and immobilization caused by psychological and/or physical trauma. Additionally, the connection to the perpetrator through children, cultural or religious beliefs, and a persistent hope for change can also influence their decision to stay. Financial constraints and a lack of viable alternatives for employment and financial assistance can further complicate the process of leaving an abusive relationship.

It is crucial to recognize the complexities that contribute to a person’s choice to stay and approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to providing support and resources.


When friends or family members are being abused:

Carry emergency contact information

Keep the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), readily available in your wallet or phone. This way, you can provide the number to someone who may need immediate assistance and connect them to professional help.

Take action if immediate danger is present

If you witness abuse and suspect that someone is in immediate danger of harm, call the police or emergency services. Promptly reporting the situation can help ensure the safety of the individual and enable necessary intervention.

Express concern and offer a listening ear

Let them know you care about their well-being and ask if they are safe or need someone to talk to. Creating a non-judgmental space for them to share their experiences can provide emotional support.

Inform them about available resources

Share information about local domestic violence programs that offer free and confidential help for victims and their children. Emphasize that these programs provide a range of services such as shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and support groups.

Provide practical assistance

Offer tangible support, such as giving them a ride to a local shelter, offering a safe place for them to make phone calls, or providing babysitting services while they attend appointments related to their safety and well-being.

When friends or family members are abusers:

Convey the consequences of abuse

Clearly communicate that there are no justifications for abusive behavior and emphasize the potential negative impacts it can have on their relationships, including losing the support of family, friends, homes, and jobs. Help them understand the severity of their actions and the importance of stopping the cycle of abuse.

Hold them accountable

Encourage them to take responsibility for their behavior and acknowledge the harm they have caused. It’s essential to challenge any attempts to minimize or justify their actions, while reinforcing the belief that change is possible through personal accountability.

Support their journey towards treatment

Empower them to seek appropriate treatment and professional help to address their abusive behavior. Offer your support in locating resources such as counseling, therapy, or intervention programs that specialize in addressing abusive patterns. Encourage their willingness to participate actively in their own healing and growth process.

Take immediate action when necessary

If you witness abuse and believe someone is in immediate danger of harm, prioritize their safety by contacting the police or emergency services. Promptly reporting the situation is crucial to ensuring immediate protection for the victim and providing intervention to address the abusive behavior.

Empowering Support for Loved Ones

As an ACADV member, you’ll gain access to essential resources, expert guidance, collaborative opportunities, and the chance to make a lasting impact through advocacy and positive change. Join the coalition and become a vital force in empowering and supporting survivors.