Helping a friend

Often it’s scary and difficult for a friend to tell you about abuse or for you to know what to say or do. Here are some ideas of things you can say and do:

 

Listen to your friend – the most important thing you can do is to listen and believe your friend.

 

Tell someone – encourage your friend to speak to someone they trust. Offer to go with them if need be.

 

Call a helpline – encourage your friend to carry a helpline number at all times. Support them to call a helpline or suggest you call for them.

 

Research the internet – the net is a great source for helpful information and advice. Surf The Hideout and look at other sites for more info.

 

Make a safety plan – make sure your friend knows that they can all the police (999) any time and for free, even from a mobile.

 

Arrange a code with your friend – so that if they’re in trouble they can text or call you using this code and agree what you’ll do, e.g. call the police or a close friend or family member.

 

How should I react when my friend talks about abuse going on at home?

 

Here some tips to help you in a conversation with your friend:

 

Believe them: Remember it’s not up to you to decide whether your friend is telling you the truth. You just need to listen and believe what they’re saying. Talking about abuse and domestic violence can be very difficult.

 

Be supportive: You might say “I’m glad you told me about this. Thanks for trusting me.”

 

Don’t judge or criticise: Saying things like “How can you put up with this?” won’t help your friend. Just thank them for trusting you enough to talk to them. Also, don’t criticise the abuser – remember it’s more than likely going to be someone they care about and love.

 

Be honest: Don’t be afraid to tell your friend that you’re worried about them, that you think they may need help and that maybe they should tell someone else about what’s going on.
“It’s not their fault”: Tell your friend that they’re not to blame and they’re not responsible for what’s happening.

 

Express your concern: It’s up to your friend to decide whether to tell another adult or not. But it’s OK for YOU to tell someone if you’re really worried that your friend might get hurt. But be honest about this – tell them who you’re going to talk to so they don’t feel you’re sneaking around behind their back.

 

Thank your friend for trusting you and let them know how strong they are – talking about violence and abuse takes a lot of strength and courage.