How can you help if you think someone is being abused?

  • If you are in an emergency situation, please ring: 999
  • If you believe you are being abused, you can ring the Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • If you want to speak to other people in the same situation join our peer to peer support group Soul Sisters: Empowering People.

Helping a friend or loved one that is being abused may be hard. Conversations can be difficult but you can make a difference by making them realise that there is a problem.

What can you do to support someone who may be being abused?

  • Time – Give them time to share their feelings with you. You may have to try a few times till they will open up to you and share their story.
  • Don’t Judge – Don’t judge them, this could lead to them feeling uncomfortable and ashamed. Don’t criticise them.
  • Be Kind – What they are going through is hard, support them and try to help build their confidence!
  • Domestic Abuse Organisations – Encourage them to contact a domestic abuse organisation like Soul Sisters or they can ring the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
  • Be Patient – It can take them a while to leave an abuser and it’s a long process.

Another way to help them Is by putting a code in place for if they’re in danger.

Examples of codes can be:

  • Emoji’s – like a grape or a cloud.
  • Phrases
  • A word
  • Ringing on your phone and hanging up immediately

You can offer to keep a spare set of keys and some of their important documents for if they need to escape quickly.

Important documents can include but are not limited to:

  • Their driver’s licence
  • Their passport
  • Essential items such as clothes and money
  • Their marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Benefit letters (if applicable)
  • Tenant agreements

Remember to be supportive throughout the process, what they’re going through is hard and their abuser may try to isolate them from friends and family.

Just knowing that you’re there supporting them means a lot to a person in an abusive situation.

If you fear for their safety you can call 999 anonymously and say it’s a domestic abuse case.

For more information on what you can do you can visit the following sites:

Staying safe while looking for resources

Top tips for staying safe from your abuser if you live in close proximity with them while you’re looking for resources on domestic abuse.

  1. Clear recent history after searching for help
  2. Have a separate tab open that you can quickly jump on to if they come into the room, we recommend the google home page or an online newspaper
  3. Search in a safe place

Deleting internet history:

If you are on this website on a device that your abuser may find and don’t want them to see that you are on the road to getting help you should delete your internet history.

You can do this by going to the history tab of your search engine, depending on the search engine the process can be different but if you click ‘show all history’ or ‘view history’, it will take you to a list of your browsing history. Once you are there click ‘clear browsing data’ or ‘clear browsing history’ depending on your search engine.

 You could clear all data from the past hour rather than all data all together to make it look less suspicious.

Written by Lucy Fieldhouse