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Help a Friend

Step 1: Understand what abuse is.

Dating abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior that often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone. 

Step 2: See if there are warning signs that your friend may be in an abusive relationship.

  • Does your friend apologize and make excuses for a partner's behavior?
  • Does your friend cancel or change plans often? 
  • Does your friend call and/or text to an extreme?
  • Does your friend act fearful of upsetting of angering a partner?
  • Does your friend have dramatic changes in weight, appearance, or grades?
  • Does your friend have unexplained injuries?
  • Does your friend give up hobbies or time with friends and family?
  • Does your friend seem to lose confidence in themselves?
  • Does your friend have difficulty making decisions?


Step 3: Try these strategies to provide support to a friend in an abusive relationship.

  • Listen with patience and compassion, not judgment.
  • Let them know that you are concerned for their safety.
  • Encourage them to make their own decisions and support them through this difficult process.
  • Let your friend know the abuse is not their fault.
  • Listen and believe what they tell you.
  • Acknowledge your friend's feelings. Don't tell them how they should feel.
  • Use I-statements to share your feelings and what you are seeing or hearing. (e.g. "I felt really scared yesterday when I heard him scream at you.")
  • Do not judge or make victim-blaming statements like, "You're stupid to stay with him" or "Why do you let her treat you like this?"
  • Do not put your friend's partner down or pressure your friend to break up with their partner.
  • Offer to help them find a counselor, teacher, or parent they can trust. Offer to go with your friend to speak with them.
  • Call our free and helpline for additional suggestions at 1-877-88-JCADA(52232). 



AWARE® is dedicated to empowering teens and young adults with the skills and information they need to build healthy relationships.
Email: • Office: 301.315.8040 • Confidential Helpline: 877.885.2232