Here is some advice on getting help if you or a friend are being abused, including who to talk to, getting away and safety planning. Abuse can take many different forms – read more about the types of abuse.
Talk to someone
If someone has abused you it can be very difficult to talk about it. You might feel worried about what will happen to you if you speak out. Sometimes people who have been abused can fear that they won't be believed if they tell someone.
However, it is very important not to let this fear stop you from getting help. You could tell a trusted adult, teacher, youth worker or other family member about what's going on so they can help make sure you're safe.
You might find it easier to talk to someone who is there to help, but who you do not know, about what's going on. There are many organisations that can offer support, and who are there to help.
Getting away and safety planning
It can be really hard to get away from the person who is abusing you. Abuse is never justified and never a way to express love, care or affection. It's important to get support to make sure that you are OK and so that the abuse does not continue.
But it can be very difficult to imagine how you will get away from the person who is abusing you. Safety planning can be the very first step you take. It is a way of protecting yourself and your family from someone who is hurting you. You cannot stop a person from abusing you, only they can do that, but there are things you can do to help you stay safer. It can also help you feel more in control of the situation you’re in.
Below are some tips on how to put things in place to reduce the risk of violence and abuse.
There are lots of organisations that can provide advice and support. See below.
If you think a friend or someone you know is being abused, start by talking to them about it when it is safe to do so. It is a good idea to wait until you are alone with them or in a place where you will not be overheard by the abuser. If your friend has come to you to talk about it, listen to them and be supportive, and remind them how strong they are in confiding in you, because it takes a lot of courage to talk about abuse and violence.
Make it clear you’re there for them, share the advice on these pages and encourage them to talk to someone they trust about it, such as a family member, a friend, a teacher or the police.
Don’t be upset if they don’t want to talk to you. It can be very difficult to discuss and if they’re angry or negative, chances are they are just scared.
Just by raising your concerns with the person could be the first step in them being able to see what their situation is really like. It’s important to make sure the person you are worried about knows you will always be there for them. It may be days, weeks or even years before they feel able to get the support they need but often it is friends who give people the strength they need to get the help they need.
You can talk to a trusted adult about your concerns too. They can help you to support the person you are worried about and help you to deal with the situation.
Never confront the person who you think is being abusive as this could put you and them in danger.
Even if the person you are worried about says that they do not want or need any help, it is important that you still talk to a trusted adult about your concerns. They may say that they won’t talk to you or be your friend anymore if you tell someone what is happening, but your friend's safety has to be your priority. You are not going behind their back, telling on them or interfering. If you have a real concern, you are being a good friend.
Page last reviewed: February 2016
Next review due: February 2017