Helping a Family Member or Friend

It can be very worrying when someone you care about is being hurt or abused by a partner or family member. It is difficult to know what to do, what to say or how to help.

Family violence can happen in a marriage, in a de-facto relationship, in a gay or lesbian relationship, to people with a disability who rely on their carer, between parents and children. The violence or abuse could also be by a young person against a parent or relative.
Abuse or family violence can affect anyone, regardless of race, culture, religion, ability, income level, or sexuality.

Abuse in an intimate partner relationship is common, and is mainly perpetrated by men against women. It can be difficult to understand why someone would stay in a relationship if she is being abused. It is hard to imagine what it is like, when you are not in the situation yourself. From the outside, it may seem easier to leave than it actually is. There are many reasons why it may be hard to end the relationship:

  • She is afraid of what the abuser will do if she ends the relationship
  • She still loves her partner
  • She thinks the abuse is her fault
  • She hopes her partner will change
  • She feels she should stay with her partner for the sake of the children
  • If she has a disability, she may depend on the abuser for everyday assistance
  • She feels pressure to stay with her partner from family, her community or church
  • She doesn't have the means to survive (ie. where she would live, access to money or transport, etc)