If you suspect that someone you know may be experiencing abuse, there are ways that you can help.

Recognize the warning signs

Having an understanding of domestic violence and its warning signs is the first step in helping someone you know. Familiarize yourself with what domestic violence is, how it works, and why victims find it difficult to escape abuse.

Say something

The person you are concerned about may not think that anyone notices or cares about what might be happening to them. Have the courage to express your concern and ask about their well-being in a supportive, non-judgmental way. Start with what you’ve noticed and don’t jump to conclusions. You can say things like, “I noticed the bruises you have. I’m worried about you. Are you OK?” or “I overheard your partner yelling at you the other day. I’m always here if you want to talk.”

Don’t push

If the person isn’t responding to your inquiries, don’t push them. It’s possible that they are not experiencing abuse. It’s also possible that they are not yet ready to talk about it or reach out. Honor their decision to control how and when they seek help.

Be patient

Because some victims may not be ready to seek help right away, it’s important to be patient with your support. Abusers will often intentionally isolate their victims from their family and friends so that they no longer have a support system to turn to for help. Don’t give up on them. You may be the only person left that they can turn to when they’re ready.

Suggest resources

Give them websites and numbers of places they can turn to for help if and when they are ready to seek it. Make sure that they will be safe in taking this information.

If you ever have questions about how to help someone you know, feel free to call us anytime at 218-728-6481. Advocates are always available to give advice and to lend a listening ear.