Many people are concerned about people they know who are in a relationship that is abusive. They wonder how they can help.
It may feel difficult to help someone who stays in a relationship that is abusive; however that person needs your continuing support. You are performing an important role by staying in touch and showing that you care.
Women in violent relationships often feel ashamed and isolated, especially if they stay in the relationship. There are many reasons why a woman might stay; emotional, financial, to keep the family together, or because she is too scared to leave. While outsiders might find it hard to understand, the reasons are very real and significant for the woman involved. It is important to let her know that the abuse is not her fault. Ending an abusive relationship is a process that often takes several years.
How can you help?
What is helpful to say:
What not to say:
For further assistance:
Family Violence: It’s Not OK campaign has an 0800 Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) which provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available seven days a week, from 9am to 11pm, with an after-hours message redirecting callers in the case of an emergency.
In an emergency, if you are afraid for anyone’s safety, telephone the police immediately.
Family violence is regarded as a crime and the police take it seriously.
Remember that children who are not directly abused but who witness family violence are being hurt and damaged by the abuse.
Remember also that while it is more common for women and children to be the victims of violence in a relationship that is abusive, men may also be the victims and need help and support. Some of the agencies listed here can also assist men.
Older people are also vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Age Concern offers free and confidential support, advocacy and information for people facing elder abuse. Age Concern also provides education to assist people working with and caring for older people to identify and prevent elder abuse or neglect.