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DO’s and DON’Ts for Helping a Victim of Abuse

In a situation where you suspect domestic abuse may be taking place, it is difficult to know what actions are appropriate and which actions are not. These DO’s and DON’Ts can help you decide what do:


  • Approach the victim at a time and place that is safe and confidential.
  • Express your own concern first.
  • Listen closely to what your friend or family member says and believe it.
  • Communicate clearly that the abuse they are experiencing is NOT THEIR FAULT.
  • Build them up by telling them all the wonderful things that you love about them. It is important for the person to regain self-esteem.
  • Be respectful of their choices and be patient as difficult as that may be.
  • Connect them to domestic violence resources such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.


  • Do not Accuse, diagnose, or judge their choices and do not draw any conclusions about what they may be feeling or going through physically and/or emotionally.
  • Avoid pressuring your loved one to leave the abusive relationship because there may be more to the story then what they have told you. For example, there could be threats involved, or control of the finances by the abuser.
  • Do not try to provide counseling or advice unless you are trained to do so.

Source: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services 


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