How you help someone you know who may be experiencing Domestic Abuse.

Recognising Abuse

Your friend or family member may be afraid of her partner and she might;

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please her husband/boyfriend partner.
  • Agree with everything he says and does and be afraid to correct him.
  • Talk about his temper, jealousy, anger or possessiveness.
  • Have bruises or injuries often, with the excuse of accidents.
  • Miss work, college, parties or family events without explanation.
  • Seem controlled and stopped from seeing family and friends.
  • Rarely go out in public without her husband/boyfriend/partner.

Ways to support someone you know

It can often be very difficult for a woman to even recognise she is in an abusive relationship, never mind disclose it or talk to someone else about it.

If you think or know a friend, family member, colleague, neighbour is experiencing domestic violence you can contact a domestic violence support service for information.

However, if you suspect or know a friend, family member, colleague, neighbour is experiencing domestic violence, the following may be useful:

  • Approach her in an understanding, non-blaming way.
  • Explain to her that she is not alone and that there are many women like her in the same situation.
  • Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse.
  • Give her time to talk; donate push her to go into too much detail if she doesn’t want to.
  • Tell her that no-one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can do or say can justify the abuser’s behaviour.
  • Support her as a friend. Be a good listener. Allow her to make her own decisions, even if it means she isn’t ready to leave the relationship. This is her decision. I want to help. What can I do to support you?
  • Ask if she has injuries or needs medical help. Offer to go with her to the hospital if she needs to go.
  • Help her to report the assault to the Gardá­ (police) if she wants to.
  • Be ready to provide information on the help available to abused women and their children. Explore the available options with her. Go with her to visit a solicitor if she is ready to take this step.
  • Help her find her nearest domestic violence refuge or support service and support her if she wants to contact them for support or consider going into a refuge.
  • If she has children, talk to her about their safety. Encourage her to seek support from a domestic violence service or social worker if she feels the children are being affected by the situation or are at risk from abuse.
  • Plan safe strategies (see Safety Planning). Let her create the boundaries of what is safe and what is not safe; don’t encourage her to follow any strategies that she is expressing doubt about.
  • Offer the use of your address and/or telephone number for information and messages relating to her situation.
  • Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself or her into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend or let yourself be seen by the abuser as a threat to their relationship.

Are you or someone you know experiencing domestic violence or abuse?
Call our Helpline 24/7
on 1800 662 288


For further information or support around domestic violence, you or someone you know is experiencing.

Dr Dobbs Memorial Home, Northgate St., Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Call our 24/7 Helpline on 1800 662 288
Email us 24/7 at
Call 090 647 4122, Monday-Friday 9-5

Skip to content