September 8, 2022

Center for Community Solutions Offers Tips to Start a Conversation with a Loved One Who May Be Experiencing Abuse

Dariel Walker Hampton, Communications Manager at the Center for Community Solutions

If you think that a friend or family member is in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, it can be difficult to know what to do. You may want to help but feel afraid about stepping in. If you find yourself in this situation, the most important thing you can do is start a conversation.

The Center for Community Solutions has a 24/7 confidential crisis hotline (1-888-385-4657) that is not just for people experiencing relationship and sexual violence. The hotline advocates are also available to help friends and family of victims navigate how to best support their loves ones.

Here are a few tips to help talk with a loved one who may be experiencing relationship abuse.

When you feel ready to start the conversation, it is important to demonstrate that you are informed, ready to talk, and interested in the health of your loved one’s relationship. Here are some suggested questions and phrases to help you get started.

Starting the Conversation

  •  “What has been on your mind lately?”
  •  “I’ve noticed that…”
  •  “How are you feeling in your relationship?”
  •  “How does your partner emotionally support you?”
  •  “Do you feel safe and respected in your relationship?”
  •  “Who are the people in your life you feel comfortable talking to?”
  •  “If you’d ever like to talk with a confidential advocate, we can look for local resources…”

If your loved one discloses that they are experiencing abuse, it is critical to avoid victim-blaming, shaming, or minimizing. Instead, ask how you can help. You might disagree with your loved one’s decisions or find them confusing, but it is important to not pass judgement.

When Someone Discloses

  •  Listen to them and believe them
  •  Let them know what’s happening is not okay, deserved, or their fault
  •  Share your concern and that you are here to talk when they’re ready
  •  Respect their choices and don’t judge them
  •  Share resources if they want them
  •  Remember you are not alone – it’s okay to ask for help

If you need help supporting a loved one experiencing relationship or sexual abuse, please call 1-888-385-4657. To learn more about other resources the Center for Community Solutions provides visit