This is difficult and you may feel awkward, but one way to do it is to ask "Are you ok?"
Sometimes it can be really hard to ask the question, especially if the response scares us, but it will be nothing compared to the fear of someone living with abuse. If someone is being harmed, it’s also a question they might not have been asked for a long time
- It’s a very simple question, and you may have to keep asking it at different times, but it shows that you care.
- Give the person time - they probably won’t want to share straight away.
- Try to keep in touch with them - let them see you are still there.
- Let them know you can see something is not right.
- Focus on them, and tell them positive things about themselves.
- Tell them you’re there for them no matter what.
- Let them know you’re prepared to listen when they are ready and that you won’t judge them.
- Don’t pressure them to leave - they will work out for themselves when they are ready to leave.
- Be supportive - even if they leave and then go back.
- Concentrate on keeping them safe.
- Don’t criticise the abuser or try to work out why they behave in this way.
- Be prepared for the answer. You might be shocked at some of the things they say.
- Make sure you tell them it’s not their fault.
Being there for someone who is experiencing abuse of whatever kind can be hard. Make sure you look after yourself too.