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What You Can Do to Help A Friend Who is Being Abused

What You Can Do to Help A Friend Who is Being Abused:
  • Say something. Lend a listening ear. Tell your friend that you care and are willing to listen.  Don’t force the issue, but allow your friend to confide in you at her/his own pace.  Never blame your friend for what is happening or underestimate her/his fear of potential danger.  Focus on supporting your friend’s right to make her/his own decisions.
  • Talk with a trusted adult (parent, teacher, guidance counselor, or clergy member). You cannot solve this problem for your friend. Talk with a trusted adult. They will be able to decide how to approach your friend, her/his family or your school to get the necessary help.
  • Call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 for information and guidance
  • If your friend decides to end the relationship, help her/him make a plan to be safe. S/he may want to create a “safety plan”. Victims of dating violence may face the greater risk when they try to end the abusive relationship. If the abusive person feels s/he has lost control, s/he may become very dangerous.
  • Focus on her/his strengths. Your friend has probably continually been told by the abusive person that s/he is a bad person, a bad student, or a bad friend.  Your friend may believe s/he can’t do anything right and that there really is something wrong with her/him.  Give her/him emotional support.  Help her/him examine her/his strengths and skills.  Emphasize that s/he deserves a life that is free from violence.
This document has been adapted several times by several organizations and originated with “Helping The Battered Woman, A Guide For Family And Friends,” a 1989 publication of the National Woman Abuse Prevention Project. Edited for appropriate content by DASH.
The Red Flag Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance) and was created thanks to the generous support of the Verizon Foundation. The Red Flag Campaign is copyrighted by the Action Alliance and protected under the laws of the United States of America and member treaty nations. None of the campaign graphics, survey instruments, documentation, written information, posters, ikons, buttons or any other material related to the campaign may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the Action Alliance. All rights conferred under law, whether or not mentioned herein, are reserved.

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