Help Someone Else

Determining what to say or do is very difficult when you suspect or know that someone is being abused physically, verbally or emotionally. It's normal to struggle with some of these common questions: Do I ask about it? Do I offer to help? Will he/she get mad and think I am interfering or overreacting?

Speak Up if You Suspect Domestic Violence or Abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you're hesitating--telling yourself that it's none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it--keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate.
  • Offer help.
  • Support his or her decisions.


  • Wait for him or her to come to you.
  • Judge or blame.
  • Pressure him or her.
  • Give advice.
  • Place conditions on your support.

*Adapted from NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Why A Victim May be Reluctant or Hesitant to Take Action

Victims may fear threats, harassment, or retailiation by the abuser. Victims may hesitate to seek help from law enforcement out of fear that the abuser will be imprisoned and there will be no other means of financial support.  The abuser may have promised to never assault him/her again.  The victim may feel guilty for causing the abuser's arrest. The victim may also not understand the criminal process and may mistrust the system. Many victims are concerned that they might be on trial.

Time Out's lay legal advocacy service helps victims to maneuver the criminal justice system, ensure victim's rights, and seek measures to guard one's safety now and in the future. Call today for more details.

How to Assist A Victim In The Process Of Leaving An Abusive Relationship

You can help victims of domestic violence with compassionate support, validation of their feelings, offering options, planning for safety and assisting them in making decisions about what is right for them and their family.

Please give them the number to our 24-hour hotline: 928-472-8007. We stand ready with a trained staff and volunteers offering support, crisis intervention, safety options, information and referrals.

Five things you can say to a victim reluctant to leave*:

  • I am afraid for your safety (and/or the safety of your children).
  • Without a change, the abuse tends to get worse.
  • I am here for you when you are ready to leave.
  • You deserve better than this.
  • There is help available.

Five things you can say to show your support*:

  • I believe you.
  • The abuse is not your fault.
  • How can I assist you in feeling safe?
  • Help me understand how you feel.
  • Your reactions are normal for such a horrible experience.

Things NOT to say to a victim of domestic violence*:

  • I know that you are a battered woman/man.
  • Did you try to stop the abuse?
  • What did you do to provoke the abuse?
  • Why don't you just leave?
  • If someone ever hit me, I know I'd leave immediately.
  • That happened a while ago, can't you just forget about it?

*Adapted from The Domestic Violence Center and Sarah Buel's Prosecuting Batterers Without A Witness Workshop, Tulsa, OK, February, 1994.