If A Loved One Is Being Abused, Follow These Tips

If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, your first instinct may be to help them. But if you do not approach helping them in the right way, you may accidentally do more harm than good. Follow these tips when attempting to help a friend who is a victim of domestic violence.

Do: Express concern rather than accusing them.

You may wonder why your friend would possibly stay with someone who is abusive. The situation may make you angry or sad. But it's important not to allow these sentiments to form your tone when you approach your friend about the situation. Instead of accusing them of staying with a violent partner or of being afraid or weak, express concern. Statements like "I'm worried about you," and "You can tell me if things are not okay," will go a lot further than statements like "Why don't you just leave, already?"

Don't: Approach the abuser yourself.

Unless you must do so to actively protect yourself or your friend when the abuser is about to attack, do not approach the abuser yourself. For example, yelling at them and demanding that they treat your friend better is not a good approach. The abuser may just retaliate against your friend later, making the situation worse.

Do: Help them see a lawyer.

Domestic violence cases can be very complicated. Each one is different. Instead of relying on generic legal information from books or online sources, your friend really should get a first-hand opinion from an attorney. Do what you can to help them see this attorney. You may want to just give them contact information of local lawyers and encourage them to make an appointment. Or you can tell the abusive partner you are both going out to lunch and instead go see a lawyer together. 

Don't: Lose your patience.

When someone is in an abusive relationship, it can take them a long time to get up the nerve and self-confidence to finally leave. Everyone has to come to this conclusion on their own time. What your friend really needs is to know that when they are ready to leave -- whether that's in a week or in a year -- you will be there to support them. So don't lose your patience, even if it feels like your friend is taking too long to leave. Be a strong support system for them, and consider seeking some counseling yourself if you're emotionally struggling with the burden of helping your friend.

For more information, reach out to a local law firm or visit websites like http://www.joegonzales.com/.