SafeHouse Center
24/7 HelpLine: 734-995-5444
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Linea de Apoyo de 24 horas: 734-995-5444
Si esta en grave peligro, llame a 911.

How Do I Help Survivors of Domestic Violence?

Start by believing.

Educate yourself on some of the signs that could indicate someone you care about may be experiencing abuse. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, some warning signs include the following: 

  • Their partner insults them in front of other people.
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry.
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behavior.
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive.
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries.
  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family.
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality.

If you think your friend or family member is being abused, be supportive by listening. The person being abused may not be ready or able to leave the relationship right now. Do not judge them or pressure them to leave.

I’m worried…

Knowing or thinking that someone you care about is in a violent relationship can be very hard. You may fear for their safety — and maybe for good reason. Allow them to make decide what to do and to disclose when they are ready.

Each situation is different, and the people involved are all different too. Here are some ways to help a loved one who is being abused:

  • Be supportive and listen. If they want to talk, set up a time for a call or go for a walk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted and that you are separate from the suspected abuser. You can be most supportive by simply listening to what the survivor has to say. Remember that abuse is not an easy subject to discuss, so recognize the strength involved in them telling his or her story. Do not pressure someone to share details. Let them talk.
  • Don’t place shame, blame, or guilt. Don’t say, “You just need to leave.” Instead, say something like, “I get scared thinking about what might happen to you.” Tell them you understand that their situation is very difficult. Be cautious of victim-blaming statements. (examples: Were you drinking? Did you say anything back? Why are you staying?)
  • Offer specific help. You might say you are willing to just listen, to help them with child care, or to provide transportation, for example.
  • If they ask for help with a safety plan. This could include packing important items and helping them find a “safe” word. This is a code word that can be used to let you know they are in danger without an abuser knowing. It could also include telling them that you know of a great organization that is free and confidential who can help.
  • Encourage them to talk to someone who can help. Let them know that SafeHouse Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can offer advice, support, and services. It is free and confidential.
  • If they decides to stay, continue to be supportive.  It may be hard for you to understand, but people stay in abusive relationships for many reasons. Be supportive, no matter what they decide to do.
  • If they decide to leave, continue to offer help. Even though the relationship was abusive, they may feel sad and lonely once it is over. Offer to be someone they can lean on as they move through the process.

More questions? Please call our 24-Hour Helpline (734) 995-5444.