Sometimes those who are around an abusive man overlook or minimize his behaviour which may inadvertently escalate his abuse. Talking to an abusive man is an important part of preventing intimate partner violence, but it needs to be done carefully. Safety for the victim and the children must be a top priority. Abusive behaviour won’t go away on its own.
- Choose the right time and place to talk.
- Approach him when he is calm and offer help.
- Be direct and clear about what you have seen and what worries you.
- Remind him you care about him.
- Don’t fight with him or try to force him to do anything. This can make things more dangerous for her.
- Tell him that his behaviour is his responsibility, especially if he tries to blame her.
- Remind him that there is hope and he can change.
- Avoid shaming him or making judgmental comments about him as a person.
- Tell him the violence needs to stop.
- Remind him that violence and control does not make his family safe.
Always keep yourself safe. Don’t get in the middle of an assault. Call the police in an emergency.
If he denies the abuse or does not want your help:
- Tell him that you are concerned for his safety and the safety of his partner and the children.
- Never argue with him about his abusive or violent behaviour. This can make the situation more dangerous.
- Call the police if the woman is in danger. The police are trained to assess the risk.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Offer to go with him if he needs additional information or support.
- If he has children, remind him that you are concerned about the children’s safety and emotional well-being. He may be more willing to change his behaviour if he wants to be a good parent.
Child Protection staff members are trained to assess children’s safety. If you know of a child who is exposed to violence you must, by law, report it.