When Someone You Know is Being Abused

Hands Together

YOU are SARC’s biggest advocate. Many of the clients we see are referred to SARC by a concerned friend, family member, or someone in the community. While it can be hard to talk about, being there to listen and empower the individual is a crucial step in escaping a life of fear and abuse.

How to start the conversation:
This can be the hardest step. You can tell the individual you care about them or just let them know that you are available to talk. Tell them that you want to help in whatever way is best, and that you will not tell anyone unless they want you to. Let them know that you are ready whenever they want to talk.

If they do talk about the abuse:
Be sure to listen, and assure them that you want to help in whatever way is best. Remind them that the abuse is never their fault, and they do not deserve to be abused. Acknowledge that it takes a lot of strength to come forward and talk. Ask them how you can help.

It is VERY important to avoid telling them anything that could be judgmental or blaming. Do not tell them what to do: it is crucial to empower them to make their own decisions and only help when they ask.

Safety is the top priority:
Remind them that their safety and the safety of their children are very important. Ask if you can help them brainstorm different ideas on how to stay safe: be sure to cover common places where they spend their time (work, home, cars, school, etc.). In the home, if possible, remind them to avoid bathrooms and kitchens. Try to encourage them to plan escape routes for themselves and their children, and to keep money and/or a key hidden in case they have to leave. Also encourage them to gather or copy important documents such as their birth certificate, health insurance, credit cards, etc.

Let them know about SARC:
SARC ‘s helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They do not have to provide any information they are not comfortable sharing over the phone. On the helpline they can discuss safety planning and/or their options for services with SARC. Encourage them to save the helpline number under a code name in case they do need to call - 410-836-8430

The most important thing is to be supportive. There are many reasons an individual might stay in an abusive relationship. It may be more dangerous for them to leave than stay. Leaving could risk the lives and/or custody of their children, and despite the abuse, they may still love their partner. Just be sure to remind them you are there to help whether they leave or not.

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