Neighbours, Friends and Family

You can help prevent and respond to abuse in your community

Home is not always a safe place. For many people, especially women and children, it is violent and terrifying. Everyone has a role to play in ending violence in our communities.

There is no need to feel helpless about family violence. If you are not sure about offering help to someone you think is experiencing abuse, consider these points:

Common Concerns Points to Consider
It's really none of my business It could be a matter of life and death. Violence in the community is everyone's business.

I don't know what to say.



Showing that you are concerned is a good start; you can say:

  • I care
  • I believe in you
  • It's not your fault.

I might make it worse.

Doing nothing could make things worse - abuse often gets worse over time.

It's not serious enough to involve the police.


Police are trained to respond. Even if the behaviour is not criminal, they know about other resources to help families experiencing abuse.
I'm afraid the abuser might turn violent with me or my family if I interfere. Speak to the victim alone. Let the police know if you receive threats. Be sure to report it if you know there are weapons available.
I don't think the person really wants to leave because she or he keeps going back. Maybe she or he did not have the support needed to overcome obstacles - no money, no place to live, no childcare, no transportation, unable to communicate, etc.
I'm afraid she or he will be angry with me. Maybe she or he will be. But she or he will also know that you can be a support person when needed.
They are both my friends. If one friend is being abused and living in fear, you can help by being supportive.
I should wait until she or he asks for help. She or he may be too afraid and ashamed to ask for help.
If the abuser wanted help or wanted to stop his or her behaviour, he or she would.

He or she may be too ashamed to ask for help.


What happens in the privacy of a home is a family matter.

This is not the case when someone is being hurt - it's wrong and against the law.


Family violence is a community issue.

Everyone has a role to play in ending violence. Learn how you can help...