One in four young people report emotional, physical, or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year. This means that you personally know — and come in contact with — many people in your daily life who are experiencing abuse.
You can make a positive difference to someone experiencing abuse, whether they’re a family member, friend or even a stranger.
Not sure if someone is in trouble? You might not see dramatic warning signs like black eyes and broken bones, so how can you tell for sure? For one thing, listen to your instincts. You probably wouldn’t be worried without good reason.
Here are some signs to look for that might mean someone you know is in trouble and needs help.
- You notice their partner calls them names or puts them down in front of other people.
- If they talk to other people, their partner gets extremely jealous.
- They apologize for their partner’s behavior and make excuses for it.
- They frequently cancel plans at the last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
- Their partner is always checking up, calling or texting and demanding to know who they’re with and where they’ve been.
- You’ve seen fights escalate to breaking or hitting things.
- They’re constantly worried about upsetting their partner or making them angry.
- They give up things they used to enjoy such as spending time with friends or other activities.
- Their weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
- They have injuries they can’t explain or the explanations they give don’t make sense.
Do you see the warning signs? If so, check out the pages below to see how best you can help.
Help a Friend
Watching your friend experience abuse can be both challenging and frustrating. Consider these tips as you try to make a positive change in your friend’s life.
Help a Coworker
You can be a source of support for a coworker in an abusive relationship. Learn how.
Help a Parent
It is so tough to watch one of your own parents deal with an abusive relationship. There are ways you can help and support them.
Help Your Child
Is your child in an abusive relationship? Read this section for tips on how to approach the topic with your son or daughter and ensure they get the help they need.
Help a Stranger
Ever witness abuse but feel like you can’t intervene because the situation doesn’t involve you? Abuse affects everyone in a community, and you can play an important role in getting the victim to safety. Here are ways to help if you spot trouble.
How to Be an Ally
The principles for supporting those in unhealthy relationships are the same regardless of that person’s sexual orientation or identity. That said, we have a couple of things to keep in mind when helping someone who’s LGBTQ.
How Would You Help? Quiz
If you read these sections and feel prepared to get involved, test your readiness with our quiz.