How to Help someone you know who is in an abusive relationship?
If you think someone you know is in an abusive relationship there are things you could do to help. The important thing to remember is to do it sensitively and, of course, in a way that keeps both of you safe.
You can’t make decisions for the person you are trying to help. What’s important is that they know they have your support whatever they choose to do.
• Ask them how they are. Let them know that they can talk to you.
• Assure them that you are there to help should they need it. For example, you could agree a code word or signal they could make when they are in need of help and/or are unable to access support themselves.
• Always prioritise safety - yours and theirs. The abuser won't appreciate you getting involved so be careful about what you do and where and when you do it. Confronting the abuser is not a good idea.
• Find out information on available Support Services and encourage them to contact a service so that they can make informed choices.
If you would like advice on how best to safely support the person you are concerned about, you too can contact one of the national helplines:
• The Womens Aid national helpline phone number is 1800 341 900, it is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. It offers confidential information, advice, support and understanding to women who are being physically, sexually or mentally abused in their own homes. The Helpline also acts as a referral to refuges, counselling services, solicitors, legal aid and other agencies, both statutory and voluntary, which are helpful to women experiencing abuse within a relationship
• The National Rape Crisis 24 hour helpline for both men and women who have experienced sexual violence is 1800 778888 (this helpline is run by Dublin Rape Crisis Centre)
• Men who are living with domestic violence can contact Amen, a voluntary group which provides a confidential helpline, information and a support service for male victims of domestic abuse. You can contact them by calling (046)9023718, it is open from 9am to 5pm Monday – Friday. If you need help outside these hours please call: 086 194 7270.
In an emergency dial 112 or 999