Are you, a friend or family member looking for help for a perpetrator of domestic abuse?


It’s difficult to know what to do if you become aware that a relative or a friend has been abusive or violent to their partner. You’ll feel a range of emotions, and maybe mixed loyalties.

Domestic abuse often continues because it remains hidden. Below are some actions you can take to help. You can also call the Respect Phoneline on 0808 8024040 for advice.

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Safety is your priority when you’re deciding if and how to intervene in an abusive relationship. Be guided by the victim as to the safest way to handle the situation, and don’t put yourself at risk when speaking to either party.

You might worry that calling the police will make the situation worse, but a good police response can send a clear message that domestic violence and abuse is unacceptable and against the law. You should always call the police in an emergency.

It isn’t easy to accept that someone you love has harmed their partner. If they open up to you about it, don’t assume you’re hearing the full story. There may be more to it than they’re able to admit.

The following pointers might help you support your relative or friend:

  • When someone is violent or abusive they are 100% responsible for their actions, even though they may paint a negative picture of their partner. Try and keep them focused on their own actions, and how they could have handled the situation non-abusively.
  • People who are abusive often try to play down what they did or the impact it had on their partner. Let them know that no matter what, abuse or violence is never okay.
  • When both parties are using violence, it’s rarely of an ‘equal’ nature. One person’s violence doesn’t ‘cause’ or ‘cancel out’ the other’s.
  • Stress, alcohol or drugs do not cause domestic violence. Many people live very stressful lives, drink or use drugs heavily and are never violent.

If it’s safe, you could offer information about the help available:

People can change if they want to. They choose to act this way to their partner. They also have to choose to stop. The first step is to stop making excuses or playing down their actions, and reach out for help.

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