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How to Help A Friend In An Abusive Relationship

By Danielle Nyman, Youth Advocate, HELP of Door County

February is Dating Violence Awareness month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about interpersonal violence – verbal, emotional, physical or sexual – that occurs among youth. Often the focus is on domestic violence and adult relationships. However, adolescents in dating relationships can be affected as well. According to loveisrespect.org, one in three teenagers will experience teen dating violence. What is most concerning is that most teens who experience violence in a relationship will not tell an adult. If they tell anyone about what is going on, it is most often a friend.

As a parent it is important to speak with teenagers about healthy relationships and signs of abuse. It is also important to discuss what to do if a friend is in an abusive relationship. Below are ways a teen can help a friend being hurt.

  • Say “It’s not your fault” and “You don’t deserve it.”
  • Listen without judgment.
  • Believe the person.
  • Never condone the abuse.
  • Don’t be critical of the partner.
  • Let the person make his or her own decisions about continuing or ending the relationship.
  • Offer friendship and support no matter what.
  • Show concern for the person’s safety.
  • Encourage the person to tell supportive adult.
  • Inform that person of a helpline. HELP of Door County’s domestic abuse hotline is 920.743.8818.

For more information on teen dating violence go to loveisrespect.org or call HELP of Door County, Inc. at 920.743.8785.

This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.

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