How to support a friend in an abusive relationship

Seeing someone you care about being abused can be hard to deal with, but it is important to support them through this tough time. You may wonder why someone would stay in an abusive relationship. Well, there can be many reasons for why they remain in such relationships. It might be because the abuser is threatening to hurt them or someone they love if they leave. And sometimes victims of abuse feel ashamed, or believe that they are to blame for the abuse. Whatever the reason, try to support your friend no matter what.

Here are some dos and don'ts when supporting a friend in an abusive relationship.


  • Force them to report the abuser. If they report, this has to be their choice.
  • Judge them if they go back to the abuser. You might not know all their reasons for going back.
  • Confront the abuser. This could put your friend in more danger (and even put you in danger.)


  • Be supportive and listen if they want to talk.
  • Remind them that the abuse isn't their fault.
  • Allow them to decide for themselves what to do about the situation - this will make them feel in control of their lives again.
  • Get advice and help from organisations that deal with abuse, like POWA or the Stop Gender Abuse hotline on 0800 150 150. They will be able to help you manage the situation and support your friend.

Remember that your support is the best and most important thing you can give to your friend. Read more on abuse and where to get help here.

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