How to Respond to a Report of Abuse

Often a person in an abusive relationship will seek support from someone she trusts for help rather than the police or social service agency. She will need your support and understanding as well as your patience as she decides on what to do. Remember that you are required by law to report child abuse to the authorities.

Believe the person

Take what she is telling you seriously and let her know that the abuse is not her fault.

Respect the person’s privacy

Speak to her somewhere safe and private; away from people. Remember her right to privacy and confidentiality. Please don’t share this information with others unless absolutely necessary, i.e. if there is a serious risk for her and/or her children’s safety and not without her consent.

Offer reassurance and support

Just listen. She needs someone who will listen to her words without judgement and who will allow her to speak freely, without interruption. Ask her how you can help and accompany the person to a shelter or other source of help or offer help with transportation.