How to Help Someone Who is Experiencing Abuse

If you have a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague who may be experiencing intimate partner violence, encourage them to contact their local women’s shelter. Experienced, empathetic counsellors will be able to provide confidential information and advice and help them to develop a safety plan customized to their experiences.

In addition, you can help by offering support, information and assistance in accessing community programs.

  • Let them know you are there to help. Listen to them without being critical or judgmental.
  • Assure them that they are not to blame for the abuse and that they are not alone
  • Help them provide for any immediate medical and personal needs and make sure that they and their children are safe
  • Gather and pass on information about relevant community programs and assistance: shelters, sexual assault centres, legal aid, financial assistance etc.
  • Give them time to make their own decisions and respect their confidentiality
  • Encourage them to call DASO’s 24-hour Crisis and Information Line (519-539-4811 or 1-800-265-1938). You may call that line as well for information and suggestions on how to support your friend
  • Offer to play a role in their safety plan which might involve: providing emergency shelter; providing transportation; safeguarding pre-packed luggage, documents and/or money that would be required in an emergency, caring for pets
  • Visit the Neighbours, Friends and Families website, for information and further suggestions on how you can help