24hr Domestic Abuse Helplines:Herefordshire & Shropshire: 0800 783 1359Telford & Wrekin: 0800 840 3747Worcestershire: 0800 980 3331
24hr Domestic Abuse Helplines: Herefordshire & Shropshire: 0800 783 1359
Telford & Wrekin: 0800 840 3747
Worcestershire: 0800 980 3331

West Mercia Women’s Aid
I Am Worried About Someone Else

I Am Worried About Someone Else

I am worried about someone else

You may know someone – a family member, friend or colleague – who is experiencing abuse. It can be very difficult to support somebody in an abusive relationship and you may not always understand their actions or why they can’t leave their partner but there are some simple actions you can take to give support.

By understanding the complexities of domestic abuse you will be more able to support your friend or family member and understand why leaving isn’t always the safest option. We have many resources on our website that can help you support somebody you care about.

How a victim of domestic abuse may be feeling – Why don’t they leave?

  • Scared about what will happen in the future – fearful of the unknown
  • Intimidated by their abuser and scared of further abuse
  • Confused about what to do next
  • Embarrassed or ashamed of what is happening
  • Worried about their lack of finances or resources to enable them to be independent
  • Unsure of the support available or how to access it
  • Scared to tell family or friends about the abuse
  • Torn between loving their partner and wanting the abuse to stop
  • Fearful of losing custody of their children or that their children will be harmed in some way
  • Feeling like they are dependent on their abuser
  • Low self-esteem or confidence
  • Scared that no-body will believe them

How you can help

  • Listen and be patient – you may be the first person they have told about their situation so your reaction is really important – empower them, build them up by reminding them of their strengths and all their good qualities
  • Thank them for trusting you and confiding in you – making it clear you will be there for them in the future if and when they need you
  • Do not judge their situation, domestic abuse is very complex and the decisions about what will happen next should always come from the victim. Remember they are the expert in their own situation
  • Comfort them and reassure them that the abuse is not their fault
  • Do not try to prompt them into taking immediate action such as leaving their abuser, as this has to be their decision and could place them at serious risk of harm – separation can be a dangerous time and a safe exit should be planned in advance with a professional.
  • Tell them there will be options for them and encourage them to call the helpline or access the LiveChat themselves if this is not possible
  • Offer to support them to seek further support or advice (family and friends can call the helpline to access advice and support options)

Staying Safe

  • Do not confront the abuser, this could put you and your friend/family member at serious risk of harm
  • Set up a code word for them to use and agree on what will happen if they say it to you, for example: If I say/text ‘RED’ call 999 immediately, if I say/text ‘AMBER’ I need you to come over to my house etc. The process you follow is as important as the word you use, so make sure it is very clear
  • Encourage them to visit their GP if they need medical attention or advice
  • Take copies of important documents for them so they are easy to access in an emergency such as ID, bank details, benefits letters or passports
  • If it safe to do so discuss them storing evidence of the abuse such as saving texts or emails or keeping a journal of dates and incidents
  • If they or their children are in immediate danger find out their location and call 999 immediately
  • Practice self-care. Supporting someone through trauma can impact on your own health and well-being. Put boundaries in place and seek specialist support if you feel negatively impacted

Safety Planning Support

A safety plan can help to protect your child against future violence and abuse - download our Information About Safety Planning With Children.