January 27, 2017

For Your Friend

TOP For Your Friend
I Think My Friend is Being Abused

A lot of people who are being abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend don’t know what to do or where to go for help. If you think someone you know is being abused, let them know you are concerned and are willing to help. Learn as much as you can about dating abuse and what help is available so you can be prepared to assist, but always encourage your friend or loved one to talk to a professional, like an advocate, school counselor, or teacher, if they are being abused.


Red Flags That May Indicate Abuse in a Relationship:

  • Have they had a change in appearance or behavior recently?
  • Do they apologize for their boyfriend or girlfriend’s behavior?
  • Do they spend all their time with their boyfriend or girlfriend and have given up other interests, extracurricular activities and friends?
  • Does their boyfriend or girlfriend check up on or track them constantly, either in person or by using technology, social media, or other people?
  • Does their boyfriend or girlfriend call them nasty names or put them down?
  • Are they afraid to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Do they have injuries they can’t explain?
  • Does their boyfriend or girlfriend hurt themselves, others, or pets?
What Should I Do?
What Should I Do?

People who are experiencing abuse often feel a range of emotions from afraid and isolated to guilty and confused. They may love their boyfriend or girlfriend or be afraid of being alone. The most important thing you can do is let your friend know that you are there to help.

What to do:

  • Offer support and just listen.
  • Talk to them in private and keep what they say between the two of you.
  • Tell them that you are concerned for their safety.
  • Help them develop a safety plan.  A domestic violence advocate can be helpful with this.
  • Support the decisions that they make, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Offer to get information for them and point out some people they could talk to (such as a counselor, teacher or coach).
  • Give your friend the number for the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906, English & español/Multi-language Accessibility. Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711, or call yourself for more advice.
  • Show your friends that you’re a supportive ally by posting about dating violence on social media and by participating in other activities to promote awareness. This shows that you are a safe person to talk to.

What NOT to do:

  • Wait for your friend to come to you.
  • Give advice.
  • Pressure them into doing something they don’t want to do (like ending their relationship).
  • Judge or blame them for staying in an abusive relationship, not coming forward or not wanting to end the relationship. 


What if Someone I Know is Being Abusive?
What if Someone I Know is Being Abusive?

It’s not easy to see a friend or family member act abusively to their boyfriend or girlfriend. You may not want to admit that someone you love could engage in such behavior. It’s normal to feel that way, but it’s important that you don’t ignore what is going on.

What to do:

  • Talk to them in private. Tell them that what you’ve seen or heard concerns you, but what they say stays between the two of you. Keeping quiet about the abuse lets the abuser continue to deny that there is a problem and makes it easier for them to continue abusing their partner.
  • Make sure they know there are consequences for being abusive, including being put in jail or expelled from school, as well as losing your friendship.
  • Let them know you care about them and that you want to help. Suggest they talk to a professional about what is going on, like a school counselor, teacher, clergy member, or coach.
  • Set a good example by having healthy relationships with the people in your life.
  • Offer them this quiz to help them see if they are a good partner.

What NOT to do:

  • Let the abuser blame his or her partner for the abuse. Nothing their partner does justifies it.
  • Assume the problem will just go away. Keep talking to your friend or family member about the abuse, listen and support their efforts to change.
  • Wait for your friend to come to you.
  • Give advice or pressure them into doing something they don’t want to do (like ending their relationship).

For more information: