For A Friend or Family Member

What Can I Do For A Friend or Family Member I Am Concerned About?

There is no excuse for abuse.

Intimate partner violence involves everyone, not just the person who is actually being abused. As a friend, family member, roommate, co-worker, and/or fellow student, you probably know someone who is being abused by an intimate partner, whether or not that person has ever talked to you about the violence. Here are a few suggestions on how to support your friend or family member in making the choice that is best for them.

Intimate partner violence can take many forms, including verbal and emotional abuse, threats, physical battering, sexual assault, financial control, property destruction, isolation, and stalking. It does not discriminate. Abuse happens to people of every age, race, class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, educational background and socio-economic status.

Your friend or family member may not directly tell you that her/his partner is abusive, but there are some signs to watch for. Use your intuition. If you have a “feeling” that something is wrong, you may be right.

Red Flags for Abuse:

  • Public humiliation
  • Excessive jealousy
  • Intimidation
  • Shifting blame
  • Isolation
  • Sexual coercion
  • Using technology to monitor an intimate partner
  • Bruises or cuts in different stages of healing

When someone you care about is trapped in the cycle of violence, the most powerful thing you can do is listen and believe. A victim may down-play problems with their partner because they may feel ashamed, afraid, and they may still love and depend on this person despite the abuse. If the abuser is a respected or well-loved individual in the family or community, it may be difficult for the victim to share their story for fear that they will be blamed or that no one will believe them.

The person you are seeking to help is the expert on their own life. Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. The victim must be the one to decide when they are ready and when it is safest for them to leave. Victims of intimate partner violence return to their abusers an average of seven to nine times before they leave for good. Don’t give up on your friend or family member! Remind them again and again: “You can get help. You don’t deserve this. It’s not your fault. I’m here for you.”

Talk to them about creating a safety plan for themselves and any children they may have. Click here for more information about creating a safety plan.

Tell them about our web site. Using a computer the abuser cannot access, your friend or family member can get information on a variety of subjects here.

Offer these phone numbers:
·    24-hour crisis line (805) 781-6400
·    Women’s Shelter Program Counseling Center (805) 473-6507