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 your friend 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 your friend is in trouble and needs help.
- You notice your friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend calls them names or puts them down in front of other people.
- If your friend talks to other people, their boyfriend or girlfriend gets extremely jealous.
- They apologize for their boyfriend or girlfriend’s behavior and make excuses for it.
- They frequently cancel plans at the last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
- Their boyfriend or girlfriend is always checking up, calling or texting and demanding to know where they’ve been and with who.
- You’ve seen fights escalate to breaking or hitting things.
- They’re constantly worried about upsetting their boyfriend or girlfriend or making them angry.
- Giving up things they used to enjoy such as spending time with friends or other activities.
- Weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
- Your friend has injuries he or she can’t explain or the explanations given don’t make sense.
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.
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.
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.
If you read these sections and feel prepared to get involved, test your readiness with our quiz.