How to help a friend experiencing domestic violence

domestic family violence

As our community mourns two young men taken too soon, we look at how you can help a friend you suspect is experiencing domestic and family violence.

Even raising the subject of domestic and family violence can prove challenging. Abused people often struggle with self-worth as a result of the power and control exercised by their partner. They may even blame themselves.

But while your friend may not immediately act to end their situation, your support may lead them to consider their options.

Safety is the priority

Remember, your and your friend’s safety is the priority.

Find in a safe place with plenty of time for an uninterrupted conversation.

Think about what you are going to say beforehand.

If you are not sure how to start the conversation, begin with a general concern for their welfare. But do not make any accusations concerning their partner.

Do not assume their partner is the same person in public as in private. Many abusers present a charming personality in public, so don’t disbelieve your friend because their description of their partner conflicts with your personal observations.

Listen without criticism or judgment.

Having someone to talk to can allow an abused person to gather their thoughts and perhaps fully comprehend their situation for the first time.

Let your friend know you care and ask how you can help. Avoid instructing your friend on what they should do.

Be clear that an abused person is never responsible for their abuse. There are no excuses for domestic and family violence. Also, the abused person cannot stop the abuse. Only the abuser can do that.

Tell them about organisations that can help. Encourage them to seek assistance. If they prove reluctant to do that but still indicate they do want assistance, offer to speak to an organisation yourself without divulging their identity.

Do not expect them to leave the relationship immediately. Remember, they are the victim of someone exercising power and control over them.

The right to live free from violence

Remind them that everyone has the right to live free from violence.

Explain that in a healthy relationship, both partners feel free to state their opinions and make their own decisions.

If your friend wants to access professional advice and assistance or go to a safe place, support them.

If your friend brushes off your concern?

Let them know of your concern even if they don’t want to talk.

Reassure them you remain available to talk or help when they ask.

Remember, they may take time to consider their options.

Ending any relationship is difficult. Your friend may:

  • have concerns because of threats from the perpetrator
  • believe they have nowhere to go
  • hope the situation will resolve itself
  • fear social isolation
  • feel ashamed of their situation
  • have little or no access to money
  • feel wary of a future without their partner.
  • As their friend, remind them that domestic and family violence is never okay. They have done nothing to deserve or cause it, and it is not their fault.

If you or someone you know is at risk of domestic and family violence:

Find more information about what a healthy relationship looks like at

Talk to a friend or family member you can trust.

Talk to a counsellor.

Develop a safety plan to protect yourself.

Check out these resources from the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation.

More resources for domestic and family violence:

DocQ: How to talk to your GP about domestic violence.

If you’re experiencing domestic or family violence, pick up the phone.

1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service.

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via their website, or text 0458 737 732.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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