I Think My Friend is Being Physically Abused at Home: How Do I Help?

Approaching a friend about the physical abuse they may possibly be facing at their home should be done with consideration and care. Here are some ways to help a friend who is being physically abused at home.

Talk to an Adult

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If you notice your friend is coming to school with bruises and cuts, tell a parent or a teacher. Avoid talking to your friend’s parents about the situation. A parent or teacher will be able to talk to your friend’s parents on your behalf.

Deal With It Right Away

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Don’t hesitate to speak up to an adult when you start to notice signs of physical abuse. The longer you wait to tell someone, the longer it will continue to go on and remain unspoken of. Signs to look out for include bruising, cuts, broken bones and burns.

Be Understanding

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Victims of physical abuse don’t often come forward out of fear and denial, especially if it is their own parents or another family member who is hurting them. Don’t be offended if your friend doesn’t confide in you about the abuse and don’t push them to talk to you. Understand that this is a very difficult situation they are in and the best you can do is be understanding and supportive.

Be Supportive

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Be there for your friend, even if you don’t ever talk about the abuse. Do fun things together that will take their mind off of the negativity at home; invite them over for a sleepover or to have dinner with your family. Having your friend over at your house will also help get your parents involved and hopefully encourage them to help your friend as well.

Tell Them They Did Nothing Wrong

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Children who are abused at home often feel like they are to blame for the abuse—they think it’s their fault their parents hurt them, and sometimes their parents even utilize language of blame against their kids. Remind your friend that it is not their fault and that they’ve done nothing to deserve such treatment.