Sometimes those who are around an abuser overlook or minimize their behaviour, which may inadvertently escalate the abuse. Talking to an abusive person 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 the abuser when they are calm, and offer help.
- Be direct and clear about what you have seen and what worries you.
- Remind them that you care about them .
- Don’t fight with the abuser or try to force them to do anything. This can make things more dangerous for victims.
- Tell them that their behaviour is their responsibility, especially if they try to blame the victim.
- Remind them that there is hope and they can change.
- Avoid shaming the abuser or making judgmental comments about them as a person.
- Tell them the violence needs to stop.
- Remind them that violence and control does not make their family safe.
Always keep yourself safe. Don’t get in the middle of an assault. Call the police in an emergency.
If they deny the abuse or they do not want your help:
- Tell them that you are concerned for their safety and the safety of their partner and the children.
- Never argue with them about their abusive or violent behaviour. This can make the situation more dangerous.
- Call the police if someone is in danger. The police are trained to assess the risk.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Offer to go with the abuser if they need additional information or support.
- If they have children, remind them that you are concerned about the children’s safety and emotional well-being. They may be more willing to change their behaviour if they want 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.