How to Help Someone Who is Experiencing Abuse

If you have a friend, family member, neighbour or colleague who is a victim of domestic 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