If you recognize the signs of abuse and suspect someone needs help OR that someone IS the abuser, there are a number of different ways to intervene.

To Help the Victim: First of all, it is more important to speak out rather than stay quiet. This could mean saving someone's life or sparking change and hope in someone who was afraid to speak out on their own. Silence kills when it comes to domestic violence.

  • Voice your concern - Do not remain silent! 

  • Speak to them out of love and do not be pushy - if they are being pushed around at home the last thing they need is a confrontation with a friend.

  • Let them know what you are specifically concerned about and why - Mention the warning signs you have recognized, the abuse you have witnessed or suspect, and your concern for their safety.

  • Inform them that abuse is NOT normal and that they deserve to be in a happy HEALTHY relationship.

  • Educate them about the types of abuse, especially if they are unaware that domestic abuse is rarely restricted to just physical violence.

  • Tell them that abuse not only impacts their own life but the people they come into contact with: children, family members, close friends, neighbors, and even co-workers.  

  • Ask them questions about how they feel about their own safety. Allow them to recognize on their own how unhealthy and unsafe the relationship is.
  • Listen to their own concerns, believe them, and NEVER blame them for the abuse. 

  • Let them know you are there for them and will be there to support them however they choose to go forward.


  • Victims will often defend their abusers, or go back and forth in their decision to leave or get help. Be patient and supportive but firm in your message that they are still in danger, whether its physical, emotional, sexual, or even economic abuse.

  • If the victim is in immediate danger, call 911.

  • Give the victim resources (DV 24-hour hotlines, advocates, counseling, shelter, legal advice, child care, job training, continued support and more). 

  • Build up their self-esteem and confidence.

  • Help them make a safety plan and get the proper resources (advocate/trained professional) to get involved and assist with a plan of escape. 

  • Enlist the help of other concerned friends, family, as well as professionals who are properly trained to offer assistance to victims of domestic violence.

To Help The Abuser:
Yes, it is your responsibility to get involved when you suspect someone is hurting another person.  Ignoring the signs of abuse allows the cyle of abuse to continue, people will be hurt and lives will be lost. However, you should NEVER put yourself in physical danger or take responsibility in trying to change them. If there is immediate danger, call 911 and get the proper authorities involved. Violence tends to be a learned behavior which means that with help, violent people can learn to think and behave in a healthy manner. Here are a few tips on how to approach The Abuser:

  • Voice your concern - Do not remain silent! 

  • Point out the unhealthy and abusive behavior

  • Describe how it hurts the victim

  • Describe the consequences of abusive behavior to the abuser (criminal charges, court fines, jail time, lost wages, loss of respect, damaged relationships, children taken away, etc.)

  • Allow them to recognize the abusive behavior and accept responsibility

  • The abuse does not stop when the victim leaves, abusers will often time hurt multiple partners and continue the behavior in the next relationship.  The abuse continues even when victims leave, which is why the abuser must get help.

  • Encourage them to get help (do not take responsibility to change their behavior yourself).  Offer resources and professional help. Studies show this kind of behavior is learned so in many situations it is hopeful that the abuser can change with proper treatment.