Help for relatives and friends of victims

If someone is in immediate danger and their life is threatened, they should dial the Police on 999; if you are unable to talk, once connected to 999 press 55 and the police will attend. If it is not an emergency but you need help from the police, please call 101. For non-emergencies you can also report a crime online

Do you know someone who may need domestic abuse support?  

It's hard to know what to do when you're concerned a friend or relative may be being abused. 

It can be helpful to understand how an abused individual might be feeling, and how their experience might be different to what we imagine. 

  • A victim is often overwhelmed by fear, which can govern their every move. They might be afraid of violence, their safety and the safety of their children. 
  • They might believe that they're at fault and that by changing their behaviour the abuse will stop. 
  • It is very common for a victim to love their partner, but hate the violence and abuse. They could live in hope that their abuser’s ‘good side’ will reappear. They may want to help their partner change. 
  • A victim of domestic abuse might be dependent upon his partner, emotionally and financially. 
  • They may experience feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment. 
  • Making decisions about the future can be very hard for victims of domestic abuse. 

What can you do? 


  • Keep in contact. You could start a conversation with, ‘I’m worried about you because…’ or, ‘I’m concerned about your safety’. If they doesn’t respond, don’t give up. 
  • Listen and believe.  
  • Reassure them that the abuse is not their fault. 
  • Keep an open mind and be non-judgemental. 
  • Acknowledge their strengths and keep reminding them that they're coping well with a challenging and stressful situation. 
  • You may question why they're staying in the relationship, but understand that it takes huge strength and courage to leave. They need to make the decision in their own time. (re-write you may not understand why) 
  • Leaving is often a very dangerous time, when violence and abuse escalates. Understand that careful planning is needed and help if you can. 
  • Look after yourself and use your own network of support. 


  • Tell the person what to do or give ultimatums. 
  • Become angry, offended or hurt by no action being taken. 
  • Be judgmental or impose expectations of them leaving or taking action. 
  • Confront the abuser or victim. Doing so could cause isolation, harm and contact to end. 
  • Don’t mediate between the involved parties or extended family members 

It is important not to pressure the person being abused – they need to make their own decisions in their own time.

You may need to be patient because helping someone in an abusive relationship can be a gradual process. It is also important to make sure that you don’t do anything to provoke the person who is being abusive – and to ensure you look after yourself in the process.

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Services in Coventry

Safe To Talk Helpline

If you suspect a friend or family member is being abused please get in contact with the Safe To Talk Helpline. You may also want to encourage the victim to get in contact.

0800 111 4998 

8.30am - 5.30pm Monday - Friday 
10am - 1pm Saturday - Sunday 

National support

If you are concerned about a woman who you think may be in an abusive relationship, contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 200 0247 or Women's Aid online email and instant messaging services.

If you are concerned about a man who you think may be in an abusive relationship, contact Respect Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327.