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How to Encourage Someone to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship

By Megan Smith ; Updated June 13, 2017

If you have a friend who seems frightened of her partner, must constantly check in by phone or in person, is constantly being called by her spouse or has unexplained injuries, your friend may be in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, you may not be able to help if your friend is unwilling to help herself. The more your friend trusts you, the more comfortable she will feel confiding in you. Keep your conversations confidential so your friend can escape her dangerous relationship safely.

  1. Express your concerns to your friend. Tell your friend you are concerned about him and explain facts about relationship abuse. Even if your friend denies being involved in an abusive relationship, explain that it is not his fault and that he is not alone.

  2. Listen to your friend when she approaches you about relationship concerns. Even if your friend tells you what a wonderful man her husband is and you disagree, provide a listening ear and do not let your own opinions lead the conversation. Instead, allow your friend to open up to you at her own pace as you establish a trusting, confidential relationship.

  3. Support your friend if she confides in you about her abusive relationship. Although the Center for Relationship abuse does not suggest telling your friend what she should do, provide her with the resources and support to make her own informed decision. Tell your friend that she cannot change her partner's behavior and that she should make the best decision for her own safety.

  4. Provide your friend with resources. Gather information about domestic violence and abusive relationships and share these if she asks for help. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to anonymously obtain local resources and more information about abusive relationships.

  5. Be mindful of your approach. Do not force your friend to leave his partner before he is ready, says the Center for Relationship Abuse. Offer support and listen, but do not tell your friend when to leave.

  6. Encourage your friend to pack an emergency bag. Instruct your friend to leave it at your house when she is ready.This way, when your friend decides on an escape plan, she can have the bag all ready at a safe location.

  7. Refer your friend to counseling or a domestic violence shelter. When your friend is ready to leave his significant other, instruct him to call 1-800-799-SAFE to find a shelter to stay temporarily.

  8. Tip

    Recommend separate counseling instead of couples counseling, says the Center for Relationship Abuse.


    Call the police if the abuser begins to target you.

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