If you are concerned for someone else and suspect they may be experiencing domestic, sexual or gendered abuse, Panahghar can help you with referral support and advice on our helpline open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 0800 055 6519

Warning signs

If you are worried about someone else and suspect they may be experiencing abuse. There are some warning signs and red flags that you can look out for that may mean that someone is suffering from abuse. These could be:

  • Limiting contact and making excuses not to meet which is out of the norm for this individual.
  • Behaviour has changed in settings outside of home such as social meetings, work, school pick ups and drop offs.
  • Looking physically different like looking unwell or unusually stressed
  • Frequent injuries, dressing differently to cover these injuries and making excuses as to how the injuries occurred.
  • Checking phone constantly or getting phone calls and messages frequently from perpetrator.
  • Not able to attend GP appointments on their own. A partner or family member is always with them.

How you can help

If you are worried that someone you know may be experiencing abuse, here are some ways you may be able to help:

  • Remember, if someone you know needs immediate help and it is an emergency, please call 999.
  • Listen to them, avoid blame and tell them they are not alone and there are many people in a similar situation to them.
  • Acknowledge that they are in a difficult and scary situation and that it takes a lot of courage to tell someone.
  • Give them time and space to talk and express themselves and do not put too much pressure on them to talk more if they are not up to it.
  • Advise them that no one deserves to be treated in the way that they have been treated and nothing will justify the abuser’s behaviour.
  • Be there for them as a friend and allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Avoid telling them to leave the relationship if they are not ready. This is their decision to make.
  • If they are physically hurt, offer to go with them to the hospital or GP.
  • If they choose to report an assault to the police, assist them.
  • Share specialist organisations, like Panahghar, that may be able to help them in their situation.
  • Offer your friend to contact you as and when needed.
  • Be sure to look after yourself whilst supporting someone who is being abused and make sure you are safe.