Are You Concerned That Someone You Know is Being Abused?

Many people know someone whom they suspect is being abused, yet don’t know what to do or say to help. It can be difficult, especially as many women keep the abuse secret and many abusers seek to exert power and control over their partners.

A woman living with an abuser may show some or all of these warning signs.

Your friend or family member may be living with abuse if she:

  • Seems afraid
  • Avoids conversations about her relationship
  • Is increasingly isolated from friends and family
  • Makes excuses for visible bruises
  • Seems anxious to return home
  • Becomes defensive when confronted with negative feedback about partner
  • Is unusually self-blaming

What to do:

  • Express concern in a non-judgemental manner
  • Explain to her that she is not alone and that there are many women like her in the same situation
  • Stress that you understand and want to provide support
  • Ask open ended questions; do not interrogate
  • Emphasise her strengths
  • Trust that she knows what is safe for her
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Tell her that no one deserves to be abused – despite what her abuser has told her. Nothing she can say or do can justify her abuser’s behaviour
  • Provide her with our Helpline number

I get by with a little help from my friends.


John Lennon

Teach Tearmainn will provide a safe place, support for abused women with or without children,

community outreach services and access to practice-based research in our shared goal to end domestic violence.