Supporting someone who’s affected by family and domestic violence

Find out how to support someone who is experiencing family and domestic violence.

If you have a friend or family member who’s experiencing domestic violence there are simple things you can do to support them.

Signs of family and domestic violence

There may be signs that your friend or family member is experiencing family and domestic violence.

Some signs are if:

  • they become withdrawn from family and friends
  • they’re unusually quiet, lacking in confidence or depressed
  • they’re intimidated or afraid of their partner or family member
  • their partner or family member criticises them, humiliates them or makes all the decisions
  • their partner or family member controls how they spend money, what they wear and what they do
  • they have physical injuries
  • they’re using clothing to cover injuries.

Find out more about domestic violence and abusive relationships on the healthdirect website.

How to talk to someone about family and domestic violence

It’s hard to see someone you know experience family and domestic violence, but there are things you can do to support them.

Be patient and don’t push them into talking. It may take some time, but let them know you’re there when they’re ready to talk. You could start a conversation with:

  • Are you okay?
  • I’m worried about you.
  • I’ve noticed some changes and I want to check if you need help.

When you talk to them it’s important to:

  • listen to what they say without judgement and believe them
  • offer practical ways you can help, such as helping them with a safety plan, offering them a place to stay, or storing things for them, such as identity documents and belongings if they need to leave quickly
  • respect their decision, even if they choose to return to the abuser
  • reassure them that it’s not their fault.

Find out more about how to support someone experiencing domestic and family violence on the 1800RESPECT website.

You can contact a support service for advice. There’s mental health support to make sure you’re looking after yourself too.

Supporting a child, someone affected by elder abuse or someone with disability

Page last updated: 24 April 2023